People with schizophrenia (SZ) or bipolar disorder (BD) experience dysfunction in visual processing. Dysfunctional neural tuning, in which neurons and neuronal populations are selectively activated by specific features of visual stimuli, may contribute to these deficits. Few studies have examined this possibility and there are inconsistent findings of tuning deficits in the literature. We utilized an event-related potential (ERP) paradigm to examine neural adaptation for visual objects, a measure of neural tuning whereby neurons respond less strongly to the repeated presentation of the same stimulus. Seventy-seven SZ, 53 BD, and 49 healthy comparison participants (HC) were examined. In three separate conditions, pictures of objects were presented repeatedly: the same object (SS), different objects from the same category (e.g., two different vases; SD), or different objects from different categories (e.g., a barrel and a clock, DD). Mass-univariate cluster-based permutation analyses identified electrodes and time-windows in which there were significant differences between the SS vs. DD and the SD vs. DD conditions. Mean ERP amplitudes were extracted from these clusters and analyzed for group differences. Results revealed a significant condition difference over parieto-occipital electrodes for the SS-DD comparison between 109–164 ms and for the SD-DD comparison between 78–203 ms, with larger amplitudes in the DD compared to either SS or SD condition. However, there were no significant differences in the pattern of results between groups. Thus, while we found neural adaptation effects using this ERP paradigm, we did not find evidence of group differences. Our results suggest that people with SZ or BD may not exhibit deficits in neural tuning for processing of visual objects using this EEG task with rapidly presented stimuli. However, the results are inconsistent with other studies using different methodologies (e.g., fMRI, behavioral tasks) that have found tuning deficits in people with schizophrenia.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the National Institute of Mental Health R01MH095878, to MFG, ?Visual Tuning and Performance in Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder? and support from the VISN22 Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center (MIRECC). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. The contents do not represent the views of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or the United States Government.
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