Increased Timing Variability in Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder

National University of Singapore, Singapore
PLoS ONE (Impact Factor: 3.23). 05/2014; 9(5):e97964. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0097964
Source: PubMed


Theoretical and empirical evidence suggests that impaired time perception and the neural circuitry underlying internal timing mechanisms may contribute to severe psychiatric disorders, including psychotic and mood disorders. The degree to which alterations in temporal perceptions reflect deficits that exist across psychosis-related phenotypes and the extent to which mood symptoms contribute to these deficits is currently unknown. In addition, compared to schizophrenia, where timing deficits have been more extensively investigated, sub-second timing has been studied relatively infrequently in bipolar disorder. The present study compared sub-second duration estimates of schizophrenia (SZ), schizoaffective disorder (SA), non-psychotic bipolar disorder (BDNP), bipolar disorder with psychotic features (BDP), and healthy non-psychiatric controls (HC) on a well-established time perception task using sub-second durations. Participants included 66 SZ, 37 BDNP, 34 BDP, 31 SA, and 73 HC who participated in a temporal bisection task that required temporal judgements about auditory durations ranging from 300 to 600 milliseconds. Timing variability was significantly higher in SZ, BDP, and BDNP groups compared to healthy controls. The bisection point did not differ across groups. These findings suggest that both psychotic and mood symptoms may be associated with disruptions in internal timing mechanisms. Yet unexpected findings emerged. Specifically, the BDNP group had significantly increased variability compared to controls, but the SA group did not. In addition, these deficits appeared to exist independent of current symptom status. The absence of between group differences in bisection point suggests that increased variability in the SZ and bipolar disorder groups are due to alterations in perceptual timing in the sub-second range, possibly mediated by the cerebellum, rather than cognitive deficits.

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Available from: Brian Odonnell, Jun 17, 2014
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    ABSTRACT: The ability to keep track of time is perceived as crucial in most human societies. However, to lose track of time may also serve an important social role, associated with recreational purpose. To this end a number of social technologies are employed, some of which may relate to a manipulation of time perception through a modulation of body representation. Here we investigated an influence of real-time or delayed videos of own-body representations on time perception in an experimental setup with virtual mirrors. Seventy participants were asked to either stay in the installation until they thought that a defined time (90 s) had passed, or they were encouraged to stay in the installation as long as they wanted and after exiting were asked to estimate the duration of their stay. Results show that a modulation of body representation by time-delayed representations of the mirror-video displays influenced time perception. Furthermore, these time-delayed conditions were associated with a greater sense of arousal and intoxication. We suggest that feeding in references to the immediate past into working memory could be the underlying mental mechanism mediating the observed modulation of time perception. We argue that such an influence on time perception would probably not only be achieved visually, but might also work with acoustic references to the immediate past (e.g., with music).
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2015 · Frontiers in Psychology