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Schizophr Res. 2014 Aug;157(1-3):63-9. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2014.05.014. Epub 2014 Jun 6.

Impairment in emotional modulation of attention and memory in schizophrenia.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychology, Long Island University, Brooklyn, NY, United States; InSPIRES, Department of Psychiatry, NYU School of Medicine, New York, NY, United States. Electronic address: julie.walshmessinger@mssm.edu.
  • 2Department of Psychology, Long Island University, Brooklyn, NY, United States.
  • 3InSPIRES, Department of Psychiatry, NYU School of Medicine, New York, NY, United States; University at Buffalo, State University of NY, Buffalo, NY, United States; Erie County Forensic Mental Health Services, Buffalo, NY, United States.
  • 4InSPIRES, Department of Psychiatry, NYU School of Medicine, New York, NY, United States.
  • 5Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University, New York, NY, United States.
  • 6InSPIRES, Department of Psychiatry, NYU School of Medicine, New York, NY, United States; Creedmoor Psychiatric Center, NY State Office of Mental Health, Queens, NY, United States.

Abstract

Emotion plays a critical role in cognition and goal-directed behavior via complex interconnections between the emotional and motivational systems. It has been hypothesized that the impairment in goal-directed behavior widely noted in schizophrenia may result from defects in the interaction between the neural (ventral) emotional system and (rostral) cortical processes. The present study examined the impact of emotion on attention and memory in schizophrenia. Twenty-five individuals with schizophrenia related psychosis and 25 healthy control subjects were administered a computerized task in which they were asked to search for target images during a Rapid Serial Visual Presentation of pictures. Target stimuli were either positive or negative, or neutral images presented at either 200ms or 700ms lag. Additionally, a visual hedonic task was used to assess differences between the schizophrenia group and controls on ratings of valence and arousal from the picture stimuli. Compared to controls, individuals with schizophrenia detected fewer emotional images under both the 200ms and 700ms lag conditions. Multivariate analyses showed that the schizophrenia group also detected fewer positive images under the 700ms lag condition and fewer negative images under the 200ms lag condition. Individuals with schizophrenia reported higher pleasantness and unpleasantness ratings than controls in response to neutral stimuli, while controls reported higher arousal ratings for neutral and positive stimuli compared to the schizophrenia group. These results highlight dysfunction in the neural modulation of emotion, attention, and cortical processing in schizophrenia, adding to the growing but mixed body of literature on emotion processing in the disorder.

Published by Elsevier B.V.

KEYWORDS:

Cognition; Emotion; Negative symptoms; Schizophrenia

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