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Mismatch negativity (MMN) is an event-related potential (ERP) component reflecting auditory predictive coding. Repeated standard tones evoke increasing positivity (‘repetition positivity’; RP), reflecting strengthening of the standard's memory trace and the prediction it will recur. Likewise, deviant tones preceded by more standard repetitions evoke greater negativity (‘deviant negativity’; DN), reflecting stronger prediction error signaling. These memory trace effects are also evident in MMN difference wave. Here, we assess group differences and test-retest reliability of these indices in schizophrenia patients (SZ) and healthy controls (HC).
Electroencephalography was recorded twice, 2 weeks apart, from 43 SZ and 30 HC, during a roving standard paradigm. We examined ERPs to the third, eighth, and 33rd standards (RP), immediately subsequent deviants (DN), and the corresponding MMN. Memory trace effects were assessed by comparing amplitudes associated with the three standard repetition trains.
Compared with controls, SZ showed reduced MMNs and DNs, but normal RPs. Both groups showed memory trace effects for RP, MMN, and DN, with a trend for attenuated DNs in SZ. Intraclass correlations obtained via this paradigm indicated good-to-moderate reliabilities for overall MMN, DN and RP, but moderate to poor reliabilities for components associated with short, intermediate, and long standard trains, and poor reliability of their memory trace effects.
MMN deficits in SZ reflected attenuated prediction error signaling (DN), with relatively intact predictive code formation (RP) and memory trace effects. This roving standard MMN paradigm requires additional development/validation to obtain suitable levels of reliability for use in clinical trials.
During vocalization, efference copy/corollary discharge mechanisms suppress the auditory cortical response to self-generated sounds. Previously, we found attenuated vocalization-related auditory cortical suppression in psychosis and a similar trend in the psychosis risk syndrome. Here, we report data from the final sample of early illness schizophrenia patients (ESZ), individuals at clinical high risk for psychosis (CHR), and healthy controls (HC).
Event-related potentials (ERP) were recorded from ESZ (n = 84), CHR (n = 71), and HC (n = 103) participants during a vocalization paradigm. The N1 ERP component was elicited during production (Talk) and playback (Listen) of vocalization. Age effects on N1 suppression (Talk–Listen), Talk N1, and Listen N1 were compared across groups. N1 measures were adjusted for normal aging before testing for group differences.
Both ESZ and CHR groups showed reduced Talk–Listen N1 suppression relative to HC, but did not differ from each other. Listen N1 was reduced in ESZ, but not in CHR, relative to HC. Deficient Talk–Listen N1 suppression was associated with greater unusual thought content in CHR individuals. N1 suppression increased with age in HC (12–36 years), and while CHR individuals showed a similar age-related increase, no such relationship was evident in ESZ.
Putative efference copy/corollary discharge-mediated auditory cortical suppression during vocalization is deficient in ESZ and precedes psychosis onset, particularly in CHR individuals with greater unusual thought content. Furthermore, this suppression increases from adolescence through early adulthood, likely reflecting the effects of normal brain maturation. This maturation effect is disrupted in ESZ, presumably due to countervailing illness effects.
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