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The association of striatal volume and positive schizotypy in healthy subjects: intelligence as a moderating factor

  • Tina Meller (a1) (a2), Ulrich Ettinger (a3), Phillip Grant (a4) (a5) and Igor Nenadić (a1) (a2) (a6)



Schizotypy, a putative schizophrenia endophenotype, has been associated with brain-structural variations partly overlapping with those in psychotic disorders. Variations in precuneus structure have been repeatedly reported, whereas the involvement of fronto-striatal networks – as in schizophrenia – is less clear. While shared genetic architecture is thought to increase vulnerability to environmental insults, beneficial factors like general intelligence might buffer their effect.


To further investigate the role of fronto-striatal networks in schizotypy, we examined the relationship of voxel- and surface-based brain morphometry and a measure of schizotypal traits (Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire, with subscores Cognitive-Perceptual, Interpersonal, Disorganised) in 115 healthy participants [54 female, mean age (s.d.) = 27.57(8.02)]. We tested intelligence (MWT-B) as a potential moderator.


We found a positive association of SPQ Cognitive-Perceptual with putamen volume (p = 0.040, FWE peak level-corrected), moderated by intelligence: with increasing IQ, the correlation of SPQ Cognitive-Perceptual and striatal volume decreased (p = 0.022). SPQ Disorganised was positively correlated with precentral volume (p = 0.013, FWE peak level-corrected). In an exploratory analysis (p < 0.001, uncorrected), SPQ total score was positively associated with gyrification in the precuneus and postcentral gyrus, and SPQ Disorganised was negatively associated with gyrification in the inferior frontal gyrus.


Our findings support the role of fronto-striatal networks for schizotypal features in healthy individuals, and suggest that these are influenced by buffering factors like intelligence. We conclude that protective factors, like general cognitive capacity, might attenuate the psychosis risk associated with schizotypy. These results endorse the idea of a continuous nature of schizotypy, mirroring similar findings in schizophrenia.


Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: Tina Meller, E-mail: and Ulrich Ettinger, E-mail:


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The association of striatal volume and positive schizotypy in healthy subjects: intelligence as a moderating factor

  • Tina Meller (a1) (a2), Ulrich Ettinger (a3), Phillip Grant (a4) (a5) and Igor Nenadić (a1) (a2) (a6)


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