Poorer Integration of Local Orientation Information Occurs in Students With High Schizotypal Personality Traits

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Abstract

Contour integration is impaired in schizophrenia patients, even at the first episode, but little is known about visual integration abilities prior to illness onset. To examine this issue, we compared undergraduate students high and low in schizotypal personality traits, reflecting putative liability to psychosis, on two psychophysical tasks assessing local and global stages of the integration process. The Radial Frequency Jittered Orientation Tolerance (RFJOT) task measures tolerance to orientation noise at the local signal level, when judging global stimulus orientation, whilst the Radial Frequency Integration Task (RFIT) measures the ability to globally integrate the local signals that have been extracted during shape discrimination. Positive schizotypy was assessed with the Perceptual Aberration (PAb) scale from the Wisconsin Schizotypy Scales-Brief. On the RFJOT task, the High PAb group (n = 55) tolerated statistically significantly less noise (d = −0.494) and had a lower proportion of correct responses (d = −0.461) than the Low PAb group (n = 77). For the RFIT there was no statistically significant difference in integration abilities between the High and Low PAb groups. High and Low PAb groups also differed on other positive and disorganized (but not negative) schizotypy traits, hence poorer performance on the RFJOT may not be solely related to unusual perceptual experiences. These findings suggest that difficulties with local noise tolerance but not global integration occur in healthy young adults with high levels of schizotypal personality traits, and may be worth investigating as a marker of risk for schizophrenia.
Original languageEnglish
Article number518
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalFrontiers in Psychiatry
Volume9
Issue number518
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Oct 2018

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