Effects of interval duration on temporal processing in schizophrenia

Brain Cogn. 2003 Aug;52(3):295-301. doi: 10.1016/s0278-2626(03)00157-x.


Introduction: Temporal processing has received scant attention in the literature pertaining to cognitive deficits in patients with schizophrenia. Previous research suggests that patients with schizophrenia exhibit temporal perception deficits on both auditory and visual stimuli. The current study investigated the effects of interval manipulation to (1) replicate the original findings with a larger sample and an increased number of trials (2) assess the degree to which both patients and controls can differentiate temporal changes in a range of experimental interstimulus intervals, and (3) explore whether different interstimulus interval durations pose different levels of difficulty for the patients with schizophrenia.

Methods: Participants were asked to decide whether temporal intervals were shorter or longer than standard intervals on a computer-based auditory temporal perception task. The standard interval remained the same duration throughout the various tasks. The interstimulus interval separating the standard and experimental intervals varied in the range of 500, 1000, or 3000 ms. Data are presented for a sample of 16 patients with schizophrenia and 15 controls.

Results: Data suggest that patients with schizophrenia exhibit deficits in differentiating interval durations across all paradigms compared to their control-group peers on a range of auditory tasks (p<.001).

Conclusions: These results are consistent with a general temporal deficit in schizophrenia. However, the roles of medication and localization are also addressed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attention
  • Auditory Perception / physiology
  • Discrimination, Psychological
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Perceptual Disorders / diagnosis
  • Perceptual Disorders / etiology*
  • Schizophrenia / complications*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Time Factors
  • Time Perception / physiology*