Evidence for Impaired Sound Intensity Processing in Schizophrenia

University Hospital of Psychiatry, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.
Schizophrenia Bulletin (Impact Factor: 8.45). 10/2009; 37(2):426-31. DOI: 10.1093/schbul/sbp092
Source: PubMed


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
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    • "Interview measures of perceptual abnormalities, as distinct from hallucinations , indicate that auditory distortions are more frequent than distortions in any other sensory modality, occurring in 42% of patients with SZ compared to 17% of healthy adults (Bunney et al., 1999). Consistent with these subjective -~ reports, behavioral measures of auditory processing have demonstrated deficits in time estimation (Carroll et al. , 2009), spatial localization (Perrin et al., 2010) , sound intensity discrimination (Bach et al., 2011), pitch discrimination (Leitman et al., 2008), and echoic memory (Straus et al. , 1995). Event-related potential (ERP) findings suggest that auditory processing is affected within 50-200 ms of stimulus onset, including reduction of the P50 response to the first click of a paired click paradigm, impaired P50 gating, reduction of the auditory N100 component, and reduced mismatch negativity (see Hirayasu et al., 1998; Turetsky et al. , 2007). "
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    ABSTRACT: Electrophysiological methods have demonstrated disturbances of neural synchrony and oscillations in schizophrenia which affect a broad range of sensory and cognitive processes. These disturbances may account for a loss of neural integration and effective connectivity in the disorder. The mechanisms responsible for alterations in synchrony are not well delineated, but may reflect disturbed interactions within GABAergic and glutamatergic circuits, particularly in the gamma range. Auditory steady-state responses (ASSRs) provide a non-invasive technique used to assess neural synchrony in schizophrenia and in animal models at specific response frequencies. ASSRs are electrophysiological responses entrained to the frequency and phase of a periodic auditory stimulus generated by auditory pathway and auditory cortex activity. Patients with schizophrenia show reduced ASSR power and phase locking to gamma range stimulation. We review alterations of ASSRs in schizophrenia, schizotypal personality disorder, and first-degree relatives of patients with schizophrenia. In vitro and in vivo approaches have been used to test cellular mechanisms for this pattern of findings. This translational, cross-species approach provides support for the role of N-methyl-D-aspartate and GABAergic dysregulation in the genesis of perturbed ASSRs in schizophrenia and persons at risk.
    Full-text · Chapter · Dec 2013
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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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    ABSTRACT: The impairment of multisensory integration in schizophrenia is often explained by deficits of attentional selection. Emotion perception, however, does not always depend on attention because affective stimuli can capture attention automatically. In our study, we specify the role of attention in the multisensory perception of emotional stimuli in schizophrenia. We evaluated attention by interference between conflicting auditory and visual information in two multisensory paradigms in patients with schizophrenia and healthy participants. In the first paradigm, interference occurred between physical features of the dynamic auditory and visual stimuli. In the second paradigm, interference occurred between the emotional content of the auditory and visual stimuli, namely fearful and sad emotions. In patients with schizophrenia, the interference effect was observed in both paradigms. In contrast, in healthy participants, the interference occurred in the emotional paradigm only. These findings indicate that the information leakage between different modalities in patients with schizophrenia occurs at the perceptual level, which is intact in healthy participants. However, healthy participants can have problems with the separation of fearful and sad emotions similar to those of patients with schizophrenia.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2013 · Frontiers in Human Neuroscience
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    • "However, converging lines of evidence [104], [105], [109], [110] indicate that it may be subcortical magnocellular dysfunction that underlies both schizophrenia and dyslexia, in particular with regard to visual processing and associated cognitive abnormalities. This is supported by the finding that, in both disorders, structural and functional lateralization is reduced, as evidenced by abnormal symmetry of the planum temporale and a high rate of mixed handedness [110], [111], and reduced lateralization [106] has been attributed to magnocellular dysfunction. Thus, magnocellular dysfunction may be an important pathophysiologic mechanism underlying visual processing deficits in both schizophrenia and developmental dyslexia. "
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    ABSTRACT: Accumulating evidence suggests that basic visual information processing is impaired in schizophrenia. However, deficits in peripheral vision remain largely unexplored. Here we hypothesized that sensory processing of information in the visual periphery would be impaired in schizophrenia patients and, as a result, crowding - the breakdown in target recognition that occurs in cluttered visual environments - would be stronger. Therefore, we assessed visual crowding in the peripheral vision of schizophrenia patients and healthy controls. Subjects were asked to identify a target letter that was surrounded by distracter letters of similar appearance. Targets and distracters were displayed at 8° and 10° of visual angle from the fixation point (eccentricity), and target-distracter spacing was 2°, 3°, 4°, 5°, 6°, 7° or 8° of visual angle. Eccentricity and target-distracter spacing were randomly varied. Accuracy was defined as the proportion of correctly identified targets. Critical spacing was defined as the spacing at which target identification accuracy began to deteriorate, and was assessed at viewing eccentricities of 8° and 10°. Schizophrenia patients were less accurate and showed a larger critical spacing than healthy individuals. These results indicate that crowding is stronger and sensory processing of information in the visual periphery is impaired in schizophrenia. This is in line with previous reports of preferential magnocellular dysfunction in schizophrenia. Thus, deficits in peripheral vision may account for perceptual alterations and contribute to cognitive dysfunction in schizophrenia.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2012 · PLoS ONE
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