Objective: Schizophrenia is characterized by a deficit in context processing, with physiological correlates of hypofrontality and reduced amplitude P3b event-related potentials. We hypothesized an additional physiological correlate: differences in the spatio-temporal dynamics of cortical activity along the anterior-posterior axis of the scalp.
Methods: This study assessed latency topographies of spatio-temporal waves under task conditions that elicit the P3b. EEG was recorded during separate auditory and visual tasks. Event-related spatio-temporal waves were quantified from scalp EEG of subjects with first episode schizophrenia (FES) and matched controls.
Results: The P3b-related task conditions elicited a peak in spatio-temporal waves in the delta band at a similar latency to the P3b event-related potential. Subjects with FES had fewer episodes of anterior to posterior waves in the 2-4 Hz band compared to controls. Within the FES group, a tendency for fewer episodes of anterior to posterior waves was associated with high Psychomotor Poverty symptom factor scores.
Conclusions: Subjects with FES had altered global EEG dynamics along the anterior-posterior axis during task conditions involving context update.
Significance: The directional nature of this finding and its association with Psychomotor Poverty suggest this result is related to findings of hypofrontality in schizophrenia.