COMPARING TEMPORAL EVENT-CODING IN PATIENTS WITH FIRST- EPISODE PSYCHOSIS AND CHRONIC SCHIZOPHRENIA

  • Heike Schmidt
  • John McFarland
  • Colm McDonald
  • Marke A. Elliott

Abstract

Cognitive impairments are a core feature of schizophrenia. It has been suggested that the underlying cause of these impairments is an inability to sequence mental activity in time. Various studies have found increased time windows where patients with schizophrenia judge stimuli to appear simultaneously. However, it is not known if these deficits are already present during first-episode psychosis (FEP) or if they develop gradually over time. This study compares the subjective evaluation of temporal structure between healthy controls, chronic schizophrenic and FEP patients using an experimental approach involving judgments of simultaneity of visually presented stimuli. The results suggest that patients required longer delays between stimuli to detect asynchrony, although FEP patients exhibit shorter windows of simultaneity compared to the chronic sample. These data indicate that FEP patients do not appear to have the same impairments in event-coding in time as do chronic patients but do show substantial variability.

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