Deficit Effect Sizes and Correlations of Auditory Event-Related Potentials at First Hospitalization in the Schizophrenia Spectrum

Salisbury DF, Kohler J, Shenton ME, McCarley RW

Clin EEG Neurosci 2019 Aug;:1550059419868115

PMID: 31390901


The N1, P2, and P3 event-related potentials (ERPs) are impaired in first-episode schizophrenia (FESz). Reduced pitch-deviant mismatch negativity (MMN) is present in chronic schizophrenia but not FESz. We examined effect sizes of, and correlations between, N1, P2, P3, and MMN in 106 FESz and 114 matched psychiatrically well controls to determine which ERPs maximally differentiated groups, and whether late sensory/perceptual deficits (N1, P2) affected preattentive memory (MMN) and conscious attention (P3). Furthermore, we compared hallucinators and nonhallucinators within FESz. Participants completed 1 of 3 oddball tasks, silently counting target tones among standard tones. Sixty-seven FESz and 72 matched participants also completed pitch-deviant MMN testing. Measures were -scored from task appropriate controls before merging samples. Mean -scores for N1, P2, and P3 were significantly abnormal in FESz, while pitch-deviant MMN was not. N1 showed the largest deficit ( = 0.53), and only N1 was smaller in hallucinators (n = 71) than nonhallucinators (n = 27). Among all participants, early sensory processing (N1, P2) correlated with later cognitive processing (P3), and P2 and P3 also correlated with automatic preattentive memory (pitch-deviant MMN). In well individuals, N1 was associated with MMN. These data are consistent with bottom-up sensory/perceptual processes affecting more cognitive processes. However, N1 and MMN were not associated in FESz, suggesting different auditory cortex physiology underlie these ERPs, which is differentially affected in FESz. Larger P2 and P3 with greater estimated premorbid intellect in patients indicate a possible neuroprotective effect of intellect in FESz.