Electrophysiological correlates of adaptive control and attentional engagement in patients with first episode schizophrenia and healthy young adults

Megan A. Boudewyn, Cameron S Carter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

The goal of this study was to investigate the neural dynamics of error processing and post-error adjustments in cognitive control and attention to a cognitive task in schizophrenia. We adopted a time-frequency approach in order to examine activity in the theta and alpha frequency bands as indices of cognitive control and attentional engagement. The results showed that error processing was characterized by increases in theta-band activity, accompanied by decreases in alpha-band activity, in both healthy control participants and participants with schizophrenia. However, both the theta and alpha effects were significantly reduced in participants with schizophrenia. Post-error increases in theta activity were associated with improved accuracy on subsequent trials in control participants but not in participants with schizophrenia. In addition, increases in alpha-band activity were found in the prestimulus period before partial attention lapses, but only for control participants and participants with schizophrenia with relatively low positive symptom severity. These results provide evidence for a deficit in cognitive control mechanisms mediated by midfrontal theta activity in schizophrenia, and suggest a particularly pronounced deficit in patients' ability to engage adaptive control mechanisms following errors. Our results also indicate that partial attention lapses can be indexed in both control participants and participants with schizophrenia by increases in alpha activity, but that in schizophrenia this varies as a function of positive symptom severity. We suggest that disrupted theta-band function represents a key deficit of schizophrenia, whereas disruptions in the alpha band may be the byproduct of atypically regulated attention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPsychophysiology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2017

Keywords

  • Alpha rhythm
  • Cognitive control
  • EEG
  • Error processing
  • Schizophrenia
  • Theta rhythm

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Physiology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Physiology (medical)

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