ERP assessment of visual and auditory language processing in schizophrenia

Niznikiewicz MA, O’Donnell BF, Nestor PG, Smith L, Law S, Karapelou M, Shenton ME, McCarley RW

J Abnorm Psychol 1997 Feb;106(1):85-94

PMID: 9103720


Language disturbance in schizophrenia has been recently attributed to disturbed priming mechanisms. In the present study, event-related potentials (ERPs), were recorded to final words in sentences presented to 13 chronic patients with schizophrenia and 12 normal controls. Half of the final words fit a sentence context and another half did not. The N400 (the ERP sensitive to language) latency was prolonged, and its amplitude was more negative to both correct and incorrect sentence endings in the group with schizophrenia relative to the group of normal controls. The early ERP components, N100 and P200, were similar in both groups. These results suggest that language abnormalities in schizophrenia are related to a dysfunction in the language system and not to a general cognitive dysfunction, and may be related to poor use of context in patients with schizophrenia.