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Psychiatry Res. 2014 Feb 28;215(2):294-9. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2013.11.024. Epub 2013 Dec 4.

Impaired automatization of a cognitive skill in first-degree relatives of patients with schizophrenia.

Author information

  • 1University of California, San Francisco, United States. Electronic address: dwagshal@memory.ucsf.edu.
  • 2University of California, Los Angeles, United States.
  • 3University of California, Berkeley, United States.
  • 4Imaging Research Center at University of Texas at Austin, United States; Department of Psychology at University of Texas at Austin, United States; Department of Neurobiology at University of Texas at Austin, United States.
  • 5David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California, Los Angeles, United States.

Abstract

We studied healthy, first-degree relatives of patients with schizophrenia to test the hypothesis that deficits in cognitive skill learning are associated with genetic liability to schizophrenia. Using the Weather Prediction Task (WPT), 23 healthy controls and 10 adult first-degree Relatives Of Schizophrenia (ROS) patients were examined to determine the extent to which cognitive skill learning was automated using a dual-task paradigm to detect subtle impairments in skill learning. Automatization of a skill is the ability to execute a task without the demand for executive control and effortful behavior and is a skill in which schizophrenia patients possess a deficit. ROS patients did not differ from healthy controls in accuracy or reaction time on the WPT either during early or late training on the single-task trials. In contrast, the healthy control and ROS groups were differentially affected during the dual-task trials. Our results demonstrate that the ROS group did not automate the task as well as controls and continued to rely on controlled processing even after extensive practice. This suggests that adult ROS patients may engage in compensatory strategies to achieve normal levels of performance and support the hypothesis that impaired cognitive skill learning is associated with genetic risk for schizophrenia.

© 2013 Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd.

KEYWORDS:

Automatization; Genetic liability; Schizophrenia; Skill learning

PMID:
24359887
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC4191851
Free PMC Article
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