Context, cortex, and dopamine: a connectionist approach to behavior and biology in schizophrenia

Psychol Rev. 1992 Jan;99(1):45-77. doi: 10.1037/0033-295x.99.1.45.


Connectionist models are used to explore the relationship between cognitive deficits and biological abnormalities in schizophrenia. Schizophrenic deficits in tasks that tap attention and language processing are reviewed, as are biological disturbances involving prefrontal cortex and the mesocortical dopamine system. Three computer models are then presented that simulate normal and schizophrenic performance in the Stroop task, the continuous performance test, and a lexical disambiguation task. They demonstrate that a disturbance in the internal representation of contextual information can provide a common explanation for schizophrenic deficits in several attention- and language-related tasks. The models also show that these behavioral deficits may arise from a disturbance in a model parameter (gain) corresponding to the neuromodulatory effects of dopamine, in a model component corresponding to the function of prefrontal cortex.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Computer Simulation
  • Dopamine / physiology*
  • Frontal Lobe / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Mental Processes / physiology
  • Models, Psychological
  • Neural Networks, Computer*
  • Schizophrenia / physiopathology*
  • Schizophrenic Language*
  • Schizophrenic Psychology*


  • Dopamine