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J Abnorm Psychol. 1996 Nov;105(4):592-601.

Semantic priming in schizophrenia: an examination of spreading activation using word pronunciation and multiple SOAs.

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Department of Psychiatry, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213, USA.


Semantic priming in word pronunciation was examined at 5 stimulus onset asynchronies (SOAs) in 75 medicated and 25 unmedicated people with schizophrenia (SCZ) and in 10 depressed and 28 normal controls. At SOAs < 950 ms, SCZ displayed priming similar to that of normal and depressed controls. At the 950-ms SOA, SCZ displayed less priming than controls. Medication dosage, but not conceptual disorganization scores, was positively associated with priming at SOAs < 950 ms. These results suggest that prior reports of enhanced priming in schizophrenia may have been confounded by methodological problems and that automatic priming processes operate normally in SCZ. The failure of SCZ to display significant priming at the 950-ms SOA is consistent with a hypothesized disturbance in higher level processes.

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