Relationships between divided attention and working memory impairment in people with schizophrenia

Schizophrenia Bulletin
Bradley E GrayJames M Gold


Recent studies suggest that people with schizophrenia (PSZ) have difficulty distributing their attention broadly. Other research suggests that PSZ have reduced working memory (WM) capacity. This study tested whether these findings reflect a common underlying deficit. We measured the ability to distribute attention by means of the Useful Field of View (UFOV) task, in which participants must distribute attention so that they can discriminate a foveal target and simultaneously localize a peripheral target. Participants included 50 PSZ and 52 healthy control subjects. We found that PSZ exhibited severe impairments in UFOV performance, that UFOV performance was highly correlated with WM capacity in PSZ (r = -.61), and that UFOV impairments could not be explained by either impaired low-level processing or a generalized deficit. These results suggest that a common mechanism explains deficits in the ability to distribute attention broadly, reduced WM capacity, and other aspects of impaired cognition in schizophrenia. We hypothesize that this mechanism may involve abnormal local circuit dynamics that cause a hyperfocusing of resources onto a small number of internal representations.


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Apr 6, 2018·PloS One·Róbert Adrian RillAndrás Lőrincz
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Related Concepts

Mental Concentration
Immediate Recall
Psychomotor Performance
Memory, Short-Term

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