Perception of biological motion in schizophrenia and healthy individuals: a behavioral and FMRI study.

Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea.
PLoS ONE (Impact Factor: 3.53). 05/2011; 6(5):e19971. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0019971
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Anomalous visual perception is a common feature of schizophrenia plausibly associated with impaired social cognition that, in turn, could affect social behavior. Past research suggests impairment in biological motion perception in schizophrenia. Behavioral and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) experiments were conducted to verify the existence of this impairment, to clarify its perceptual basis, and to identify accompanying neural concomitants of those deficits.
In Experiment 1, we measured ability to detect biological motion portrayed by point-light animations embedded within masking noise. Experiment 2 measured discrimination accuracy for pairs of point-light biological motion sequences differing in the degree of perturbation of the kinematics portrayed in those sequences. Experiment 3 measured BOLD signals using event-related fMRI during a biological motion categorization task. Compared to healthy individuals, schizophrenia patients performed significantly worse on both the detection (Experiment 1) and discrimination (Experiment 2) tasks. Consistent with the behavioral results, the fMRI study revealed that healthy individuals exhibited strong activation to biological motion, but not to scrambled motion in the posterior portion of the superior temporal sulcus (STSp). Interestingly, strong STSp activation was also observed for scrambled or partially scrambled motion when the healthy participants perceived it as normal biological motion. On the other hand, STSp activation in schizophrenia patients was not selective to biological or scrambled motion.
Schizophrenia is accompanied by difficulties discriminating biological from non-biological motion, and associated with those difficulties are altered patterns of neural responses within brain area STSp. The perceptual deficits exhibited by schizophrenia patients may be an exaggerated manifestation of neural events within STSp associated with perceptual errors made by healthy observers on these same tasks. The present findings fit within the context of theories of delusion involving perceptual and cognitive processes.

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    ABSTRACT: IntroductionThe ability to recognize human biological motion is a fundamental aspect of social cognition that is impaired in people with schizophrenia. However, little is known about the neural substrates of impaired biological motion perception in schizophrenia. In the current study, we assessed event-related potentials (ERPs) to human and nonhuman movement in schizophrenia.Methods Twenty-four subjects with schizophrenia and 18 healthy controls completed a biological motion task while their electroencephalography (EEG) was simultaneously recorded. Subjects watched clips of point-light animations containing 100%, 85%, or 70% biological motion, and were asked to decide whether the clip resembled human or nonhuman movement. Three ERPs were examined: P1, N1, and the late positive potential (LPP).ResultsBehaviorally, schizophrenia subjects identified significantly fewer stimuli as human movement compared to healthy controls in the 100% and 85% conditions. At the neural level, P1 was reduced in the schizophrenia group but did not differ among conditions in either group. There were no group differences in N1 but both groups had the largest N1 in the 70% condition. There was a condition × group interaction for the LPP: Healthy controls had a larger LPP to 100% versus 85% and 70% biological motion; there was no difference among conditions in schizophrenia subjects.Conclusions Consistent with previous findings, schizophrenia subjects were impaired in their ability to recognize biological motion. The EEG results showed that biological motion did not influence the earliest stage of visual processing (P1). Although schizophrenia subjects showed the same pattern of N1 results relative to healthy controls, they were impaired at a later stage (LPP), reflecting a dysfunction in the identification of human form in biological versus nonbiological motion stimuli.
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    Frontiers in Psychology 08/2014; 5(1431). · 2.80 Impact Factor

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