Abnormal asymmetry of the face n170 repetition effect in male patients with chronic schizophrenia

Onitsuka T, Spencer KM, Lucia LC, Shenton ME, McCarley RW, Niznikiewicz MA

Brain Imaging Behav 2009 Sep;3(3):240-5

PMID: 22005988


The N170 face repetition effect has been proposed to reflect early identity processing that underlies the acquisition of familiarity for novel faces. It was reported that the N170 face repetition effect was lateralized to the right hemisphere. Since it has been postulated that reduced or reversed brain asymmetry may be importantly related to schizophrenia pathology, the present study examined whether or not male patients with chronic schizophrenia show reduced or reversed asymmetry in the N170 face repetition effect. Seventeen male schizophrenia patients and 13 male healthy controls participated. Event-related potentials were recorded to unrepeated and repeated faces. Patients with schizophrenia showed a bilateral N170 reduction to repeated and unrepeated faces compared to healthy subjects (F[1,28] = 8.01, p = 0.009). Schizophrenia patients showed a significant decrease in N170 amplitude to repeated faces at the left occipitotemporal electrode (t[16] = 2.91, p = 0.01), whereas healthy subjects showed a significant decrease at the right occipitotemporal electrode (t[12] = 2.36, p = 0.04). These results suggest abnormal asymmetry of the N170 face repetition effect in schizophrenia.