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Psychiatry Res. 2012 May 15;197(1-2):13-8. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2012.03.003. Epub 2012 Apr 11.

Impaired predictive timing with spared time interval production in individual with schizophrenia.

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Department of Psychology, Lancaster University, Lancaster, LA1 4YF, UK.


There is evidence for timing dysfunctions in schizophrenia. However, few studies have evaluated the processing of intervals in the hundreds of milliseconds range, despite their role in the timing of speech, music and movements. This study looked into the prediction and estimation mechanisms for intervals in that time range in individuals with schizophrenia and age-matched neurotypical controls. Specifically, we questioned the capacity of the patients to detect a phase shift that requires the processing of a deviation from 'what should happen when' given prior event regularity. The minimum detectable phase shift was estimated from an adaptive staircase procedure with or without the need for sensorimotor synchronization. Results revealed that patients were significantly impaired relative to controls, at each of the tested inter-onset intervals (IOI=300, 600 and 900ms). A control experiment used the method of repeated interval production to show that both groups performed similarly in the production of target intervals (T=500ms and 1000ms). We conclude that schizophrenia is associated with predictive timing deficits, which cannot be attributed directly to a faster or slower running internal clock.

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