Thursday, April 02, 2009

Schizophrenia and mental timing deficits: Another study

Yet another study (Carroll et al., in press; Brain and Cognition) implicating deficits in the internal brain clock and a clinical disorder - schizophrenia.  Nice little study, with a matched control group, the suggests mental timing deficits (at the level of milli-seconds) may be related to some aspects of this disorder.  See prior posts that suggest the same by clicking here.


Schizophrenia may be associated with a fundamental disturbance in the temporal coordination of information processing in the brain, leading to classic symptoms of schizophrenia such as thought disorder and disorganized and contextually inappropriate behavior. However, the majority of studies that have examined timing behavior in schizophrenia have employed temporal durations in the range of several seconds, which requires higher cognitive processes beyond initial sensory registration for temporal encoding. Accordingly, the present study assessed both millisecond and several-second duration estimates in schizophrenia using a well-established task of time perception. Twenty-eight individuals with schizophrenia and 31 non-psychiatric control participants completed two temporal bisection tasks, which required participants to make temporal judgments about auditory durations ranging from either 300 to 600 ms or 3000 to 6000 ms. Participants with schizophrenia displayed significantly greater timing variability under both millisecond and several-second timing conditions than the non-psychiatric group. These findings were consistent with parameter estimates obtained from a quantitative model of time estimation, and provide evidence for a fundamental timing deficit in schizophrenia that may be independent of the length of the to-be-timed duration.
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