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Impaired detection of visual motion in schizophrenia patients.

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Brain and Behavior Laboratory, Medical Research Center, and Department of Psychiatry, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Kwei-shai, Tao-yuan, Taiwan.



A recent report demonstrated impaired auditory detection and discrimination in schizophrenia patients. It is suggested that a deficit in attention resulted in flatter slopes of the psychometric functions. Here, we investigated whether these patients showed a similar deficit in another sensory modality. Specifically, we examined a subset of the schizophrenia patients in a visual task involving motion detection.


A total of 13 schizophrenia patients and 14 normal controls detected the presence of a group of random dots moving in a coherent direction among other dots moving in random directions. Signal intensity varied from trial to trial. Detection sensitivity and bias were computed using signal detection theory.


The schizophrenia patients were less sensitive in detecting motion stimuli, compared to normal subjects. The decrement in sensitivity varies with signal-to-noise ratio. The two groups did not differ in response bias.


Schizophrenics were impaired in visual, as well as in auditory, attention, in accordance with the idea that attention impairment may represent a core deficit in schizophrenia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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