Cognitive disorganisation in schizotypy is associated with deterioration in visual backward masking
To understand the causes of schizophrenia, a search for stable markers (endophenotypes) is ongoing. In previous years, we have shown that the shine-through visual backward masking paradigm meets the most important characteristics of an endophenotype. Here, we tested masking performance differences between healthy students with low and high schizotypy scores as determined by the self-report O-Life questionnaire assessing schizotypy along three dimensions, i.e. positive schizotypy (unusual experiences), cognitive disorganisation, and negative schizotypy (introvertive anhedonia). Forty participants performed the shine-through backward masking task and a classical cognitive test, the Wisconsin Card Sorting Task (WCST). We found that visual backward masking was impaired for students scoring high as compared to low on the cognitive disorganisation dimension, whereas the positive and negative schizotypy dimensions showed no link to masking performance. We also found group differences for students scoring high and low on the cognitive disorganisation factor for the WCST. These findings indicate that the shine-through paradigm is sensitive to differences in schizotypy which are closely linked with the pathological expression in schizophrenia. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.