Impairment of temporal attention in patients with schizophrenia

Chiang-shan Ray LiYing-cheng Chen


Evidence is accumulating that attention impairment is a core cognitive deficit in patients with schizophrenia. Here we investigate whether they are impaired in the temporal deployment of attention. Specifically, we explore how allocation of processing resources at one time point might affect the processing of a subsequent event differently in normal and schizophrenia subjects. Thirty patients and 31 age- and education-matched control subjects participated in a rapid serial visual presentation task, in which two targets (T1 and T2) were presented in rapid succession among a number of distractors. Subjects were required to identify T1 and detect T2. The sensitivity of T2 detection was analyzed with signal detection theory. The results showed that the attentional blink (the impairment in T2 detection following the identification of T1) is increased in magnitude and protracted in the patients. This observation suggests a less efficient mechanism in temporal gating of attention and in processing rapidly changing visual stimuli in schizophrenia patients.


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