Journal of Neuropsychology

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Volume 10 Issue 1 (March 2016), Pages 1-162

Inhibiting reactions to emotional versus non‐emotional response cues in schizophrenia: Insights from a motor‐process paradigm (pages 59-76)

Recent models of schizophrenia suggest deficient use of contextual response cues when confronted with countermanding emotional cues. It is important to clinically validate these models by testing patients diagnosed with schizophrenia on tasks with competing emotional and contextual response determinants. Control and schizophrenia groups completed a novel task that elicited motor responses consistent with, or in opposition to, pre‐potent emotional actions (i.e., approach vs. avoidance). An analogous non‐emotional task was also used to examine cue‐conflict impairment more generally. The groups demonstrated statistically equivalent performance decrements on incongruent versus congruent trials on both tasks. However, within the schizophrenia group, the incongruency effect was significantly greater in the emotional versus non‐emotional task. These data suggest that, while patients with schizophrenia were able to employ contextual response cues to override competing emotional responses, they were slower to resolve emotional versus non‐emotional response conflict. When patients were subdivided according to the presence or absence of disorganized symptoms, this effect was confined to patients with disorganized symptoms.

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