Contrast sensitivity and magnocellular functioning in schizophrenia

Vision Res. 2007 Oct;47(23):2923-33. doi: 10.1016/j.visres.2007.07.016. Epub 2007 Sep 6.


It has been suggested that schizophrenia is associated with a magnocellular deficit. This would predict a loss of contrast sensitivity at low spatial and/or at high temporal frequencies. We here review research that tested contrast sensitivity in individuals with schizophrenia. We find that the results of this research tend to show uniform reductions in contrast sensitivity that are generally not consistent with a magnocellular deficit. While much of this data may be consistent with an attentional deficiency on the part of the schizophrenic individuals, it is difficult to link such an attentional deficiency specifically to the magnocellular system. The conclusion of the present review is that contrast sensitivity data do not indicate the existence of an association between magnocellular deficits and schizophrenia.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Attention / physiology
  • Contrast Sensitivity / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Psychophysics
  • Schizophrenia / drug therapy
  • Schizophrenia / physiopathology*
  • Schizophrenic Psychology
  • Space Perception / physiology
  • Time Factors
  • Visual Pathways / physiopathology*


  • Antipsychotic Agents