Kyle S. Minor, Ph.D.
The Cognition, Language, and Affect in Serious Psychopathology (CLASP) laboratory focuses on identifying clinical risk markers of psychosis and implementing interventions for individuals at risk for or diagnosed with Schizophrenia-spectrum disorders. The long-term goals of my research program are to develop instruments that accurately assess psychotic symptoms and create interventions to improve the lives of people with psychosis. My work examines psychosis at different stages of illness (e.g., clinical high risk, first episode, chronic psychosis) and has three primary objectives: 1) Create novel assessments to identify mechanisms of psychosis in the laboratory and in daily life; 2) Link potential clinical risk markers to functional outcomes; and 3) Establish innovative interventions for people on the psychosis-spectrum. Each objective is critical for gaining a better understanding of—and ultimately intervening in—psychosis.
I. Create Novel Assessments to Identify Mechanisms of Psychosis in the Lab and in Daily Life
In our first line of research, we utilize novel experimental procedures and behaviorally-based process instruments to assess psychotic symptoms in the laboratory and in one’s natural environment. Much of this work has focused on Formal Thought Disorder (FTD). In previous studies, we have employed behaviorally based process and computerized measures of speech to provide objective assessments of FTD. Outside of our physical CLASP laboratory space, an emerging area of research focuses on implementing objective measures of FTD in people’s real-world environments. Following laboratory studies of FTD, a lingering question was whether the speech produced in our experimental conditions resembled the conversations people have in everyday social interactions. Through collaborations with researchers across the country, we have recently began conducting studies to obtain real-world data in high-risk and chronic psychosis samples. These studies are the first of their kind in psychosis-spectrum populations; they offer promise for illustrating how real-world stressors—and reactions to stress—impact FTD.
II. Link Potential Clinical Risk Markers to Functional Outcomes
A second line of research concentrates on tying psychotic symptoms, such as FTD, to functional impairments. This line of research serves as an important bridge from identifying mechanisms to understanding how interventions can be useful in ameliorating functional deficits. To date, we have conducted studies examining how psychotic symptoms are linked to functioning in high risk, first episode, and chronic psychosis populations. Current work in the CLASP laboratory focuses on linking potential risk markers to functional outcomes in daily life. Traditionally, symptoms and functioning have only been measured subjectively in one’s natural environment (i.e., ecological momentary assessment). Although subjective measures are valuable real-world monitoring tools, they fall prey to many of the same criticisms afflicting self-report. One of the exciting aspects of my recent work is that it uses ecologically-valid tools to objectively measure behaviors (e.g., level of social engagement, emotional expression). By not relying solely on subjective interpretation, this line of research connects innovative technology with clinical assessment.
III. Establish Innovative Interventions for People on the Psychosis-Spectrum
Establishing interventions for psychosis-spectrum populations is the third objective of my laboratory. Much of my previous research in this area has focused on how interventions can be implemented to reduce psychotic symptoms and improve functioning in first episode and chronic psychosis samples. At present, my focus is centered on creating and testing an innovative intervention for chronic psychosis. The primary goal of this intervention is to enhance psychosocial therapy for those with psychosis by pairing it with portable technology. This would provide a novel intervention that would be tailored to clients in a way that is not possible using traditional psychotherapy. To carry out the intervention research, I have been working with a multidisciplinary team of local and national researchers. Currently, I am working with these collaborators on a KL2 funded grant project. By offering a window into real-world interactions, our proposed intervention has the potential for broad future application and is likely have a substantial impact on clinical practice.
Over the next few years, I will take each of my three primary research objectives down exciting paths. In addition, I have a number of colleagues who can partner with me to achieve shared goals—ranging from testing stress using a multi-method approach (e.g., subjective, objective, biological markers) to working with experts in adapting technology to improve patient care. Through progression on research objectives, the CLASP laboratory will increase understanding of psychosis and improve interventions to reduce the suffering of those with psychotic disorders.
Dr. Minor will be accepting a graduate student for Fall 2022.
Minor, K. S., Willits, J.A., Marggraf, M.P., Jones, M.N., & Lysaker, P.H., (2019). Measuring disorganized speech in schizophrenia: Automated analysis explains variance in cognitive deficits beyond clinician-rated scales. Psychological Medicine, 43, 440-448.
Minor, K. S., Davis, B. J., Marggraf, M.P., Luther, L., & Robbins M.L. (2018). Words matter: Implementing the Electronically Activated Recorder in schizotypy. Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment, 9(2), 133-143.
Minor, K. S., Marggraf, M. P., Davis, B. J., Mehdiyoun, N. F., & Breier, A. (2016).Affective systems induce formal through disorder in early-stage psychosis. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 125, 537-542.
Minor, K. S., Marggraf, M. P., Davis, B. J., Luther, L.. Vohs, J. L., Buck, K. D., & Lysaker, P. H. (2015). Conceptual disorganization weakens links in cognitive pathways: Disentangling neurocognition, social cognition, and metacognition in schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Research, 169, 153-158.
Minor, K. S., Bonfils, K. A., Luther, L., Firmin, R. L., Kukla, M., MacLain, V. R., Buck, B., Lysaker, P. H., & Salyers, M. P. (2015). Lexical analysis in schizophrenia: How emotion and social word use informs our understanding of clinical presentation. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 64, 74-78.
Minor, K. S., Friedman-Yakoobian, M., Leung, Y. J., Meyer, E. C., Zimmet, S. V., Caplan, B., Monteleone, ., Bryant, C., Guyer, M., Keshavan, M. S., & Seidman, L. J. (2015). The impact of premorbid adjustment, neurocognition, and depression on social and role functioning in patients in an early psychosis program. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 49, 530-536.
Minor, K. S., & Lysaker, P. H. (2014). Necessary, but not sufficient: Links between neurocognition, social cognition, and metacognition in schizophrenia are moderated by disorganized symptoms. Schizophrenia Research, 159, 198-204.
Minor, K. S., Firmin, R. L., Bonfils, K. A., Chun, C. A., Buckner, J. D., & Cohen, A. S. (2014). Predicting creativity: The role of psychomatric schizotypy and cannabis use in divergent thinking. Psychiatry Research, 220, 205-210.