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Clarifying the role of pattern separation in schizophrenia: the role of recognition and visual discrimination deficits

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)328-333
Number of pages6
JournalSchizophrenia Research
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2015

King's Authors


Patients with schizophrenia show marked memory deficits which have a negative impact on their functioning and life quality. Recent models suggest that such deficits might be attributable to defective pattern separation (PS), a hippocampal-based computation involved in the differentiation of overlapping stimuli and their mnemonic representations. One previous study on the topic concluded in favour of pattern separation impairments in the illness. However, this study did not clarify whether more elementary recognition and/or visual discrimination deficits could explain observed group differences. To address this limitation we investigated pattern separation in 22 schizophrenic patients and 24 healthy controls with the use of a task requiring individuals to classify stimuli as repetitions, novel or similar compared to a previous familiarisation phase. In addition, we employed a visual discrimination task involving perceptual similarity judgments on the same images. Results revealed impaired performance in the patient group; both on baseline measure of pattern separation as well as an index of pattern separation rigidity. However, further analyses demonstrated that such differences could be fully explained by recognition and visual discrimination deficits. Our findings suggest that pattern separation in schizophrenia is predicated on earlier recognition and visual discrimination problems. Furthermore, we demonstrate that future studies on pattern separation should include appropriate measures of recognition and visual discrimination performance for the correct interpretation of their findings.

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