Enhanced visuospatial imagery manipulation in schizophrenia
Benson, Taylor Leigh
The current study sought to expand on previous research by investigating the relationship between spatial working memory, visuospatial imagery, and temporo-parietal abnormalities in schizophrenia by examining the contributions of these spatial vulnerability markers to clinical correlates and individual psychopathology in medicated outpatients with chronic schizophrenia. Compared to healthy controls, patients with schizophrenia exhibited 1) impaired performance on a spatial working memory task; 2) equal performance on Raven’s Matrices and Paper Folding Test; and 3) enhanced performance on an imagery-based jigsaw puzzle task. For healthy controls, spatial working memory and mental imagery abilities are closely related. In contrast, these two functions are dissociated in schizophrenia, which may indicate abnormal connectivity of the frontoparietal network. I propose that the dissociation between working memory and mental imagery may be a more refined endophenotype candidate for schizophrenia than spatial working memory deficit alone, and conclude with future directions to investigate schizophrenia liability by evaluating differential contributions of multiple markers, risk factors and stressors across the schizophrenia spectrum to help elucidate the factors that lead to schizophrenia symptomatology.