3 years ago

Load-sensitive impairment of working memory for biological motion in schizophrenia

Jejoong Kim, Hannah Lee
Impaired working memory (WM) is a core cognitive deficit in schizophrenia. Nevertheless, past studies have reported that patients may also benefit from increasing salience of memory stimuli. Such efficient encoding largely depends upon precise perception. Thus an investigation on the relationship between perceptual processing and WM would be worthwhile. Here, we used biological motion (BM), a socially relevant stimulus that schizophrenics have difficulty discriminating from similar meaningless motions, in a delayed-response task. Non-BM stimuli and static polygons were also used for comparison. In each trial, one of the three types of stimuli was presented followed by two probes, with a short delay in between. Participants were asked to indicate whether one of them was identical to the memory item or both were novel. The number of memory items was one or two. Healthy controls were more accurate in recognizing BM than non-BM regardless of memory loads. Patients with schizophrenia exhibited similar accuracy patterns to those of controls in the Load 1 condition only. These results suggest that information contained in BM could facilitate WM encoding in general, but the effect is vulnerable to the increase of cognitive load in schizophrenia, implying inefficient encoding driven by imprecise perception.

Publisher URL: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0186498

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