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Sumayyah Varachhia

PhD Student, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences

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Biography

Having graduated with a BSc (hons) in Psychology from the University of Leicester, Sumayyah than went on to complete an MSc in Psychological Research Methods at the University of Leicester.

Currently Sumayyah is a PhD student training at the University of Nottingham's ESRC Doctoral Training Centre.

Expertise Summary

Keywords:

Schizophrenia, Social Cognition, Ethnicity

Research Summary

Schizophrenia is a long-term mental health condition causing a range of debilitating symptoms. These include both "positive" symptoms e.g. hallucinations (seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting and… read more

Current Research

Schizophrenia is a long-term mental health condition causing a range of debilitating symptoms. These include both "positive" symptoms e.g. hallucinations (seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting and smelling when there is no stimulus) and delusions (abnormal beliefs held despite evidence to the contrary, which are not in keeping with usual cultural, religious or society norms) and "negative" symptoms e.g. blunted affect (a restriction of the ability to express emotions), social withdrawal and social isolation.

Some symptoms (especially persecutory delusions and blunted affect) have been linked to patient's abilities to understand their own and other peoples' mental state, this in psychological terms is referred to as "theory of mind deficit".

Therefore I am conducting a meta-analysis on studies exploring theory of mind deficits in patients with schizophrenia and also reconsidering the debate regarding the relationship between theory of mind and cognitive empathy in patient with schizophrenia. In addition how demographic (e.g. age, gender, illness onset, IQ) and clinical (e.g. executive function, attention) variables might relate to theory of mind abilities will also be explored.

Future Research

Conduct studies to establish how deficits in alexithymia and empathy (i.e. social emotional cognitive deficits) map onto theory of mind deficits and vary with ethnic heritage (i.e. cultural differences) in both healthy participants and patients.

Develop an educational package to improve awareness of how social emotional deficits relate to theory of mind, ethnicity and psychopathology in people with schizophrenia living in Nottingham.

School of Medicine

University of Nottingham
Medical School
Nottingham, NG7 2UH

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