Visual search irregularities in schizophrenia depend on display size switching

Todd S. Woodward, Jennifer C. Whitman, Katherine Arbuthnott, Tonya L. Kragelj, Jessica Lyons, Emmanuel Stip

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction. In past research it has been demonstrated that when performing a visual search task with either one or multiple (4, 7 or 10) stimuli displayed, patients with schizophrenia demonstrate slow response times (RTs) in the display size of one, target-absent (one-absent) condition. The goals of the present investigation were to replicate this effect, and to gain an understanding of the underlying cognitive operations by comparing display-size switch to display-size repeat trials. Methods. In two experiments, patients and controls performed a visual search task with either one or four stimuli displayed. In Experiment I (one block with mixed switch and repeat trials), RT for display-size switch trials was compared to RT from display-size repeat trials. In Experiment 2, the display-size one and display-size four conditions were run in separate, homogeneous blocks. Results. The results demonstrate that the one-absent slowing effect was eliminated on repeat trials, regardless of whether the switch and repeat trials were mixed or presented in separate blocks. Conclusions. This set of results suggests that a combination of cueing and switching effects may underlie the one-absent slowing observed in patients, such that switching to the one-absent condition is difficult due to insufficient cueing of the relevant cognitive operations. This visual search paradigm is an excellent candidate for inclusion in the development of a neurocognitive profile specific to schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-152
Number of pages16
JournalCognitive Neuropsychiatry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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