Evidence for impaired sound intensity processing in schizophrenia

University Hospital of Psychiatry, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.
Schizophrenia Bulletin (Impact Factor: 8.61). 10/2009; 37(2):426-31. DOI: 10.1093/schbul/sbp092
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Patients with schizophrenia are impaired in many aspects of auditory processing, but indirect evidence suggests that intensity perception is intact. However, because the extraction of meaning from dynamic intensity relies on structures that appear to be altered in schizophrenia, we hypothesized that the perception of auditory looming is impaired as well. Twenty inpatients with schizophrenia and 20 control participants, matched for age, gender, and education, gave intensity ratings of rising (looming) and falling intensity sounds with different mean intensities. Intensity change was overestimated in looming as compared with receding sounds in both groups. However, healthy individuals showed a stronger effect at higher mean intensity, in keeping with previous findings, while patients with schizophrenia lacked this modulation. We discuss how this might support the notion of a more general deficit in extracting emotional meaning from different sensory cues, including intensity and pitch.

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Available from: Dominik R Bach, Aug 11, 2015
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    • "The looming and receding sounds were the 500-ms sine waves that linearly rose or fell in intensity with initial and terminal intensities of 42(57) and 57(42) dB, respectively. A recent study performed by Bach et al. (2011) showed that at these intensities, patients with schizophrenia do not differ from healthy participants in accuracy of the sound direction detection (e.g., receding or looming). Both sounds had an initial falling/raising time of "
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    • "Leitman proposed a failure of bottom-up processing, suggesting that deficits in elemental aspects of auditory processing compounded each other and culminated in prosody detection deficits (Leitman et al. 2005). Other deficits exhibited by schizophrenic patients in auditory processing germane to vocal affect processing include an overestimation of the intensity of rising tones (looming) (Bach et al. 2009b), problems with high-clarity stimuli (Bach et al. 2009a), and possible alteration of the right-hemisphere preference for processing prosody (Mitchell et al. 2004) (Bach et al. 2009c). Vocal affect recognition capabilities have also been observed to correlate with occupational success in patients with schizophrenia (Hooker and Park 2002). "
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