Selectively reduced contrast sensitivity in high schizotypy

Harper, Lauren, Spencer, Emily, Davidson, Colin orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-8180-7943 and Hutchinson, Claire V. (2020) Selectively reduced contrast sensitivity in high schizotypy. Experimental Brain Research, 238 . pp. 51-62. ISSN 0014-4819

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Deficits in the ability to encode small differences in contrast between adjacent parts of an image (contrast sensitivity) are well documented in schizophrenic patients. In the present study, we sought to determine whether contrast sensitivity deficits reported in schizophrenic patients are also evident in those who exhibit high schizotypy scores in a typical (i.e., non-schizophrenic) population. Using the O-Life Questionnaire, we determined the effects of schizotypy on spatial (0.5, 2 and 8 c/deg) and spatiotemporal (0.5 and 8 c/deg at 0.5 and 8 Hz) contrast sensitivity in 73 young (18-26 years), majority female (n = 68) participants. We found differences in contrast sensitivity that were spatial, spatiotemporal and O-Life subscale specific. Spatial contrast sensitivity was significantly lower in high, compared to low schizotypes at low spatial frequencies (0.5 c/deg) in those who scored highly on the Unusual Experiences and Cognitive Disorganisation O-Life subscales. For moving stimuli, individuals with high scores on the Unusual Experiences subscale exhibited lower spatiotemporal contrast sensitivity for 0.5 and 8 c/deg patterns drifting at 8 Hz. Although the effects reported here were relatively small, this is the first report of reduced contrast sensitivity in schizotypy.

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