Controlled and automatic aspects of semantic-associative functioning in schizophrenia were investigated by evaluating performance on animal word list generation (WLG). Responses from control (n = 47) and patient (n = 38) participants were subjected to multidimensional scaling (MDS), cluster analysis (CA), and indices on the basis of number of shared attributes (SA) between consecutive responses. Patient MDS results accounted for less variance and contained more error than control data. CA results yielded fewer and less clear animal-response subgroups among patients yet demonstrated intact associations among strongly related exemplars. The SA indices revealed better clustering and more effective switching among response clusters in controls than patients. Results suggest that animal WLG in schizophrenia is compromised both by aberrant automatic semantic-associative network activation and by controlled processes such as search, access, and selection. This pattern is consistent with prominent frontotemporal pathology evident in the disorder.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biological Psychiatry
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology