Visual backward masking deficits in schizotypy are observed in late but not early onset nicotine smokers

Visual backward masking (VBM) is a potential endophenotype for schizophrenia. Relative VBM deficits were also observed in high as compared to low scorers in one schizotypal subdimension (cognitive disorganisation, CogDis; Cappe et al., 2012). VBM deficits may be related to dysfunctions of the nicotinergic ACh system. Interestingly, nicotine consumption is initiated earlier and higher in people within the schizophrenia spectrum. Here, we investigated whether chronic nicotine consumption relates to the link between VBM deficits and high CogDis scores. We tested 12 early onset smokers (≤ 15 years), 19 late onset smokers (>15 years) and 17 non-smokers. Participants completed the VBM task and the short version of the O-LIFE questionnaire. Indeed, impairments in VBM correlated with increasing CogDis scores in the late smokers and non-smokers, but we found the inverse relationship for early smokers. The other schizotypy dimensions (positive, negative) were unrelated to VBM performance. Hence, our findings support a nicotinic mediation of VBM performance and point to self-medications effects.

Presented at:
17th European Conference on Personality, Lausanne, Switzerland, July 15-17, 2014

 Record created 2014-05-26, last modified 2018-09-13

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