Error-Related Processing Dysfunction in Children Aged 9 to 12 Years Presenting Putative Antecedents of Schizophrenia

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Background: Intervention aimed at preventing schizophrenia may be most effective if targeted at specific, but modifiable, functional impairments that present during childhood. We have developed a novel method of screening community samples aged 9 to 12 years to identify children who present a triad of putative antecedents of schizophrenia (ASz), defined as 1) speech and/or motor development lags/problems; 2) internalizing, externalizing, and/or peer-relationship problems in the clinical range; and 3) psychotic-like experiences. This study examined whether ASz children display brain function abnormalities during error processing that are similar to those exhibited by adults with schizophrenia. Methods: Twenty-two ASz children and 26 typically developing (TD) children with no antecedents of schizophrenia completed an error-inducing Go/NoGo task during event-related potential recording. Group differences were examined in the amplitude and latency of four event-related potential components: the initial error-related negativity (ERN) and later error-positivity (Pe) elicited on false-alarm responses to NoGo trials, and the corresponding initial correct response negativity (CRN) and later correct response positivity (Pc) elicited during processing of correct responses to Go trials. Results: Relative to TD children, ASz children were characterized by reduced ERN amplitude but unaffected CRN, Pe, and Pc amplitudes. No group differences were observed in the latency of any component. Conclusions: Children presenting a triad of putative antecedents of schizophrenia show error-processing dysfunction mimicking that observed in adults with schizophrenia using the same Go/NoGo paradigm. The ASz children displayed specific early error-processing deficits rather than a generalized deficit in self-monitoring.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)238 - 245
Number of pages8
JournalBiological psychiatry
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2010


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