Article

Sensorimotor gating, orienting and social perception in schizophrenia.

Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Science, Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, United States.
Schizophrenia Research (Impact Factor: 4.43). 04/2005; 73(2-3):319-25. DOI: 10.1016/j.schres.2004.07.013
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Basic neurocognition and social cognition appear to influence the social impairments of persons with schizophrenia. This study examined relationships between two very basic automatic processes (i.e., sensorimotor gating and orienting) and social perception in schizophrenic patients. Thirty outpatients with schizophrenia completed psychophysiological measures of sensorimotor gating (prepulse inhibition, PPI), orienting (prepulse facilitation, PPF), and social perception (the Half Profile of Nonverbal Sensitivity, Half PONS). A median split was used to divide patients into poor and good gaters and poor and good orienters. Analyses revealed that patients with good PPI scored significantly higher on the Half PONS than patients with poor PPI. PPI showed a significant correlation (r=-0.54) with Half PONS performance, indicating that schizophrenia patients who were better able to gate out competing stimuli (i.e., less startle) were also better at detecting relevant social cues. Orienting (PPF) and social perception were not related. This study is the first to our knowledge to demonstrate an association between sensorimotor gating and social perception. The findings are consistent with other studies that have demonstrated relationships between basic neurocognition and social cognition. By showing a link between sensorimotor gating and social perception, this study supports social cognition's potential role as a mediator of the relationship between neurocognition and social functioning in schizophrenia.

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