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Neuroimage Clin. 2017 Apr 18;15:45-52. doi: 10.1016/j.nicl.2017.04.012. eCollection 2017.

Reduced intrinsic visual cortical connectivity is associated with impaired perceptual closure in schizophrenia.

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Department of Cognitive Neuroscience, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, Maastricht University, The Netherlands. Electronic address:
Laboratory of Neuroimaging, Department of Psychiatry, Psychosomatic Medicine and Psychotherapy, Goethe University, Frankfurt/Main 60528, Germany.
MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics & Genomics, Division of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences, School of Medicine, Cardiff University, United Kingdom.


Sensory perceptual processing deficits, such as impaired visual object identification and perceptual closure, have been reported in schizophrenia. These perceptual impairments may be associated with neural deficits in visual association areas, including lateral occipital cortex and inferior temporal areas. However, it remains unknown if such deficits can be found in the intrinsic architecture of the visual system. In the current study, we measured perceptual closure performance and resting-state functional connectivity using functional magnetic resonance imaging (FMRI) in 16 schizophrenia patients and 16 matched healthy controls. We estimated intrinsic functional connectivity using self-organized grouping spatial ICA, which clusters component maps in the subject space according to spatial similarity. Patients performed worse than controls in the perceptual closure task. This impaired closure performance of patients was correlated with increased severity of psychotic symptoms. We also found that intrinsic connectivity of the visual processing system was diminished in patients compared to controls. Lower perceptual closure performance was correlated to lower visual cortical intrinsic connectivity overall. We suggest that schizophrenia is associated with impaired intrinsic connectivity of the visual system, and that it is a potential mechanism leading to impaired visual object perception. These findings contribute to increasing evidence for impairments of higher visual functions in schizophrenia.


FMRI; Perceptual closure; Resting state; Schizophrenia; Visual processing

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