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Spatio-temporal luminance contrast sensitivity and visual backward masking in schizophrenia
journal contributionposted on 2023-05-25, 23:50 authored by Slaghuis, WL
Abstract The aim of two experiments was to investigate the relationship between spatio-temporal contrast sensitivity and visual backward masking in normal observers and in subgroups with positive- or negative-symptoms in schizophrenia. Experiment 1 measured contrast sensitivity for stationary and counterphase modulated sinusoidal gratings at four spatial (0.5, 2.0, 4.0, 8.0 c/deg) and four temporal frequencies (0, 4.0, 8.0, 16.0 Hz). The results showed that there were no differences in spatio-temporal contrast sensitivity between the control and positive-symptom group, and in comparison with these groups, contrast sensitivity was significantly lower at all spatial and temporal frequencies in the negative-symptom group. Experiment 2 measured the visibility of a Landolt C target with a constant target stimulus duration of 4.0 ms followed by a 150 ms backward mask which was presented at twelve stimulus onset asynchronies from 0 ms to 110 ms in the same groups of observers. Consistent with the findings of the previous experiment, there were no significant differences in backward masking between the control and positive-symptom group, and in comparison with these groups, visual backward masking was significantly higher at all stimulus onset asynchronies from 40 to 110 ms in the negative-symptom group. The present findings show that there were no significant differences in contrast sensitivity and in backward masking between normal observers and a group with positive-symptoms in schizophrenia. It was concluded that the reduction in contrast sensitivity for low spatial frequency counterphase flicker in the negative-symptom group is consistent with a reduction in the 'contrast gain control' mechanism of magnocellular channels, and that the reduction in contrast sensitivity for medium and high stationary gratings is consistent with a disorder in parvocellular channels. It was proposed that a disorder in magnocellular channels in the negative- symptom group may enforce a reliance on parvocellular channels that results in longer temporal summation and visible persistence and slower visual processing of single target stimuli at threshold and higher levels of sensory integration and backward masking when multiple stimuli are presented rapidly in time.
Publication titleExperimental Brain Research
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