Brain/behavior Asymmetry in Schizophrenia: A MEG Study of Cross-modal Semantic Priming

Karen Froud, Debra Titone, Alec Marantz, Deborah L Levy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Semantic priming has long been used to investigate how concepts and ideas are related at the level of language, and has become a convenient tool for assessing conceptual and semantic dysfunction in cognitive disorders, including schizophrenia. The study of semantic priming in schizophrenia has led to diverse results: enhanced priming, reduced priming, and priming equivalent to that found in nonpsychiatric comparison groups. A number of hypotheses have been proposed to explain some of the observed deficits in schizophrenia patients. For example, difficulties in word recognition may be due to hyperactivation of too many lexical representations or to a failure to inhibit lexical competitors. One way to distinguish between these possible explanations is to move beyond reliance on behavior alone and to examine the neural processes involved in lexical recognition. Here we present a magnetoencephalographic study of semantic priming in schizophrenia. Importantly, schizophrenia patients and healthy controls did not differ in performance on a priming task. We show that normal behavioral performance can occur in a context of aberrant neural responses. These findings suggest that normal behavioral responses in schizophrenia can be achieved through neural mechanisms that differ from those seen in the psychiatrically well brain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)223-239
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Neurolinguistics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2010


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