The benefits of emotionally salient cues on event-based prospective memory in bipolar patients and schizophrenia patients


Prospective memory (PM) refers to the ability to remember to carry out a delayed intention in the future. Evidence suggests that emotionally salient cues can enhance PM functions in healthy population, but whether the benefit exists in schizophrenia and bipolar patients remains unclear. This study aimed to examine and compare the potential enhancement effect of emotional PM cues in schizophrenia patients and bipolar patients. Twenty-eight clinically stable schizophrenia participants, 26 euthymic bipolar participants and 29 controls completed a computerized PM task involving PM cues with different types of valences (i.e., positive, neutral and negative). All the three groups showed better PM performance when negative PM cues were presented compared with positive and neutral PM cues. The sizes of the enhancement effects of negative PM cues were large (all Cohen’s d ≥ 1.00) and comparable across three groups. Our findings suggested that patients with schizophrenia and bipolar disorders could benefit from negative PM cues to an extent similar to healthy individuals, thus extended the notion of psychosis continuum to the important area of emotion-cognition interaction.

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This study was supported by a donation from the Philip K. H. Wong Foundation granted to Eric F. C. Cheung of Castle Peak Hospital. Raymond Chan was supported by the CAS Key Laboratory of Mental Health, Institute of Psychology.


These funding agents had no role in the study design; collection, analysis, and interpretation of the data; writing of the manuscript; or decision to submit the paper for publication.

Author information




Lui SSY, Yang TX, Chan RCK conceived and designed the study. Leung SSW, Man CMY, Leung KHL were responsible for data collection. Lui SSY, Yang TX, Leung SSW conducted data analysis. Lui SSY and Leung SSW wrote the first draft of the manuscript. Wong JOY, Wang Y, Yang TX, Chan RCK made substantial contribution to comment and revise the manuscript. All authors have approved the final version of this manuscript.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Tian-xiao Yang or Raymond C. K. Chan.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This study was approved by the Clinical & Research Ethics Committee of the New Territories West Cluster of the Hospital Authority of Hong Kong.

Consent to participate

All patients provided written informed consent, in accordance with the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki.

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Lui, S.S.Y., Leung, S.S.W., Yang, Tx. et al. The benefits of emotionally salient cues on event-based prospective memory in bipolar patients and schizophrenia patients. Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci (2021).

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  • Prospective memory
  • Emotion
  • Schizophrenia spectrum
  • Bipolar disorder