Schizophrenia and the magnocellular system
Boyd, Megan Carly
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Previous research has shown that the Magnocellular pathway in schizophrenia patients may be hyperactive and may be suppressed using red light. This study uses a Visual Backward Masking paradigm to manipulate magnocellular pathway functioning. Participants were shown stimuli presented on a red or green background, quickly followed by a mask, and were asked to locate the stimulus on the screen or attend to a detail in the stimulus. The stimuli and mask were separated by varying time intervals. In the red background condition, schizophrenia patients should show accuracy rates similar to non-psychiatric controls on a green background, regardless of the task. Overall, schizophrenia patients were less accurate than normal controls on both backgrounds; however, only one time interval obtained statistical significance in the location task while two were significant in the identification task. These results suggest schizophrenia patients have general deficits, rather than only hyperactivity, in the magnocellular pathway.