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J Abnorm Psychol. 1999 Feb;108(1):69-75.

Normal time course of auditory recognition in schizophrenia, despite impaired precision of the auditory sensory ("echoic") memory code.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, USA.


Prior studies have demonstrated impaired precision of processing within the auditory sensory memory (ASM) system in schizophrenia. This study used auditory backward masking to evaluate the degree to which such deficits resulted from impaired overall precision versus premature decay of information within the short-term auditory store. ASM performance was evaluated in 14 schizophrenic participants and 16 controls. Schizophrenic participants were severely impaired in their ability to match tones following delay. However, when no-mask performance was equated across participants, schizophrenic participants were no more susceptible to the effects of backward maskers than were controls. Thus, despite impaired precision of ASM performance, schizophrenic participants showed no deficits in the time course over which short-term representations could be used within the ASM system.

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