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Psychiatry Res. 2009 May 15;167(1-2):1-11. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2007.12.008. Epub 2009 Apr 3.

Mental imagery vividness as a trait marker across the schizophrenia spectrum.

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Neurophysiology and Neuroimaging Laboratory, Department of Psychiatry, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universit├Ąt, Frankfurt/Main, Germany.


We investigated the vividness of mental imagery and its possible relationship with the predisposition towards hallucinations in 52 schizophrenia (SZ) patients, 44 of their first-degree relatives (R) and two healthy control groups (high-schizotypy [CHS; n=24]; low-schizotypy [CLS; n=24]). We investigated phenomenological and cognitive trait markers of schizophrenia, including cognitive correlates of hallucinations and vividness of mental imagery, and the influence of individual psychopathology. Overall, scores on the mental imagery questionnaire (QMI [Sheehan, P.W., 1967. Reliability of a short test of imagery. Perceptual and Motor Skills 25, 744.]) suggested higher mental imagery vividness in first-degree relatives, high-schizotypy controls and patients, than in low-schizotypy controls. However, vividness of mental imagery was independent of predisposition towards hallucinations and cognitive test performance scores. These results suggest that vividness of mental imagery may be a trait marker across the schizophrenia spectrum. In addition we propose that imagery proneness is relatively independent of the individual psychopathology.

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