Cognition and Brain Function in Schizotypy: A Selective Review

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Ettinger, U. ; Mohr, C. ; Gooding, D. C. ; Cohen, A. S. ; Rapp, A. ; Haenschel, C. ; Park, S. (2015)
  • Publisher: OXFORD UNIV PRESS
  • Journal: Schizophrenia bulletin, volume 41 Suppl 2, pages 417-26
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.1093/schbul/sbu190
  • Subject: Supplement Articles | RC0321 | BF
    mesheuropmc: behavioral disciplines and activities

Schizotypy refers to a set of personality traits thought to reflect the subclinical expression of the signs and symptoms of schizophrenia. Here, we review the cognitive and brain functional profile associated with high questionnaire scores in schizotypy. We discuss empirical evidence from the domains of perception, attention, memory, imagery and representation, language, and motor control. Perceptual deficits occur early and across various modalities. While the neural mechanisms underlying visual impairments may be linked to magnocellular dysfunction, further effects may be seen downstream in higher cognitive functions. Cognitive deficits are observed in inhibitory control, selective and sustained attention, incidental learning, and memory. In concordance with the cognitive nature of many of the aberrations of schizotypy, higher levels of schizotypy are associated with enhanced vividness and better performance on tasks of mental rotation. Language deficits seem most pronounced in higher-level processes. Finally, higher levels of schizotypy are associated with reduced performance on oculomotor tasks, resembling the impairments seen in schizophrenia. Some of these deficits are accompanied by reduced brain activation, akin to the pattern of hypoactivations in schizophrenia spectrum individuals. We conclude that schizotypy is a construct with apparent phenomenological overlap with schizophrenia and stable interindividual differences that covary with performance on a wide range of perceptual, cognitive, and motor tasks known to be impaired in schizophrenia. The importance of these findings lies not only in providing a fine-grained neurocognitive characterization of a personality constellation known to be associated with real-life impairments, but also in generating hypotheses concerning the aetiology of schizophrenia.
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