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Dissociation of Proactive and Reactive Cognitive Control in Individuals with Schizotypy: An Event-Related Potential Study

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 January 2021

Lu-xia Jia
Neuropsychology and Applied Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory, Key Laboratory of Mental Health, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China Department of Psychology, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
Xiao-jing Qin
Neuropsychology and Applied Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory, Key Laboratory of Mental Health, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China Department of Psychology, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
Ji-fang Cui
Research Center for Information and Statistics, National Institute of Education Sciences, Beijing, China
Hai-song Shi
North China Electric Power University, Beijing, China
Jun-yan Ye
Neuropsychology and Applied Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory, Key Laboratory of Mental Health, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China Department of Psychology, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
Tian-xiao Yang
Neuropsychology and Applied Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory, Key Laboratory of Mental Health, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China Department of Psychology, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
Ya Wang*
Neuropsychology and Applied Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory, Key Laboratory of Mental Health, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China Department of Psychology, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
Raymond C. K. Chan
Neuropsychology and Applied Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory, Key Laboratory of Mental Health, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China Department of Psychology, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
*Correspondence and reprint requests to: Ya Wang, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Science, 16 Lincui Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100101, China. Emails:,



Patients with schizophrenia and individuals with schizotypy, a subclinical group at risk for schizophrenia, have been found to have impairments in cognitive control. The Dual Mechanisms of Cognitive Control (DMC) framework hypothesises that cognitive control can be divided into proactive and reactive control. However, it is unclear whether individuals with schizotypy have differential behavioural impairments and neural correlates underlying these two types of cognitive control.


Twenty-five individuals with schizotypy and 26 matched healthy controls (HCs) completed both reactive and proactive control tasks with electroencephalographic data recorded. The proportion of congruent and incongruent trials was manipulated in a classic colour-word Stroop task to induce proactive or reactive control. Proactive control was induced in a context with mostly incongruent (MI) trials and reactive control in a context with mostly congruent (MC) trials. Two event-related potential (ERP) components, medial frontal negativity (MFN, associated with conflict detection) and conflict sustained potential (conflict SP, associated with conflict resolution) were examined.


There was no significant difference between the two groups in terms of behavioural results. In terms of ERP results, in the MC context, HC exhibited significantly larger MFN (360–530 ms) and conflict SP (600–1000 ms) amplitudes than individuals with schizotypy. The two groups did not show any significant difference in MFN or conflict SP in the MI context.


The present findings provide initial evidence for dissociation of neural activation between proactive and reactive cognitive control in individuals with schizotypy. These findings help us understand cognitive control deficits in the schizophrenia spectrum.

Regular Research
Copyright © INS. Published by Cambridge University Press, 2021

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