Slow and steady: sustained effects of lexico-semantic associations can mediate referential impairments in schizophrenia

Citation:

Ditman, T., Goff, D., & Kuperberg, G. R. (2011). Slow and steady: sustained effects of lexico-semantic associations can mediate referential impairments in schizophrenia. Cogn Affect Behav Neurosci , 11 (2), 245-58.

Date Published:

2011 Jun

Abstract:

The present study investigated the contribution of lexico-semantic associations to impairments in establishing reference in schizophrenia. We examined event-related potentials as schizophrenia patients and healthy, demographically matched controls read five-sentence scenarios. Sentence 4 introduced a noun that referred back to three possible referents introduced in Sentences 1-3. These referents were contextually appropriate, contextually inappropriate but lexico-semantically associated, and contextually inappropriate and lexico-semantically nonassociated. In order to determine whether participants had correctly linked the anaphor to its referent, the final sentence reintroduced each referent, and participants indicated whether the last two sentences referred to the same entity. Results indicated that between 300 and 400 ms, patients, like healthy controls, used discourse context to link the noun with its preceding referent. However, between 400 and 500 ms, neural activity in patients was modulated only by lexico-semantic associations, rather than by discourse context. Moreover, patients were also more likely than controls to incorrectly link the noun with contextually inappropriate but lexico-semantically associated referents. These results suggest that at least some types of referential impairments may be driven by sustained activation of contextually inappropriate lexico-semantic associations.

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