Introduction. Negative priming (NP) paradigms have been used extensively to understand the nature and time course of inhibitory deficits in patient populations. A majority of these studies have reported abnormal NP effects, with patients showing faster reaction times on NP sequences compared to the slowing displayed by controls. Methods. A Stroop NP task was employed to measure immediate (within-trial) attentional processing as well as the sustainment (between-trial) of these processes in 12 medicated schizophrenia inpatients and 13 matched controls. Two response stimulus intervals (RSIs) were presented (500 ms and 2000 ms). Within-trial Stroop effects (interference and facilitation) and between-trial priming effects (negative and positive priming) were measured. Clinical symptomatology and duration of illness were also examined. Results. At short RSIs of 500 ms, chronically ill state hospital schizophrenia patients failed to exhibit NP. In contrast, the control subjects exhibited normal NP at the short RSI but this priming faded at the long 2000 ms RSI and was no longer significant. The facilitatory priming effects remained stable across time in both groups. Conclusions. These results suggest that schizophrenia patients are better able to inhibit irrelevant stimuli that are immediate, but the sustainment of inhibition across very short time intervals (500 ms) may fade compared to controls.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Psychiatry and Mental health