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Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1977 Jan;34(1):25-30.

Very short-term memory dysfunction in schizophrenia. Defective short time constant information processing in schizophrenia.


Disordered, very short-term memory (VSTM) has been hypothesized as the fundamental cognitive deficit in schizophrenia. We describe a method that measures VSTM using self-stimulated auditory average evoked potentials. This paradigm allows the VSTM hyothesis to be tested relatively free of superficial attentional and motivational artifacts. The experimental results are consistent with a VSTM dysfunction in schizophrenia. Very short-term memory dysfunction is discussed in light of recent blink reflex evidence that there is a short time constant information processing system with a time base similar to VSTM (ie, 1 to 1,000 msec). This leads to new testable hypotheses about information processing and VSTM in schizophrenia. It also lays the basis for interpreting this phenomenon as a pathologic exaggeration of an adaptive neurophysiologic mechanism.

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