Two versions of Posner's covert orienting task were administered to 14 drug-free schizophrenic patients and 12 normal controls. In the schizophrenic subjects, automatic orienting to exogenous cues in the right visual field was impaired. However, this lateralizing general deficit was not present when the schizophrenics were able to direct attention effortfully in the second version of the task using endogenous cues. These findings support the hypothesis that there is a deficit in left hemispheric mechanisms mediating visual spatial attention in schizophrenia. However, when schizophrenics are given the opportunity to use an attentional strategy they are able to partially overcome this lateralized processing deficit.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biological Psychiatry