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Contextual Effects on Choice Reaction Time and Accuracy in Acute and Chronic Schizophrenics Impairment in Selective Attention or in the Influence of Prior Learning?

  • Steven H. Jones (a1), David R. Hemsley (a1) and Jeffrey A. Gray (a2)


Two hypotheses were tested concerning the nature of the cognitive dysfunction in schizophrenia: (a) that there is a broadening of selective attention; and (b) that there is an impairment in associational learning. RDC-diagnosed acute and chronic schizophrenics and normal controls carried out a choice reaction time (RT) task in which conflict between the correct response to a target (a letter in the centre of a computer screen) and that cued by simultaneously presented flankers (two letters either side of the target) increased RT. For 80 (‘valid’) trials, flankers and targets were consistent in the response cued (pressing a button with either left or right hand); on 8 (‘invalid’) trials they conflicted. On invalid trials there was a slowing of RT, and an increase of errors for left-hand responses. Chronic schizophrenics showed the same reactions to cue validity as normal controls, both groups differing significantly from acute schizophrenics. For the latter, the RT data supported hypothesis (b), but the error rates appeared to support hypothesis (a).


Corresponding author

Department of Clinical Psychology, Institute of Psychiatry, De Crespigny Park, Denmark Hill, London SE5 8AF


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Contextual Effects on Choice Reaction Time and Accuracy in Acute and Chronic Schizophrenics Impairment in Selective Attention or in the Influence of Prior Learning?

  • Steven H. Jones (a1), David R. Hemsley (a1) and Jeffrey A. Gray (a2)


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Contextual Effects on Choice Reaction Time and Accuracy in Acute and Chronic Schizophrenics Impairment in Selective Attention or in the Influence of Prior Learning?

  • Steven H. Jones (a1), David R. Hemsley (a1) and Jeffrey A. Gray (a2)
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