We investigated the relationship between psychometrically-defined schizotypy and the ability to detect a visual target pattern. Target detection is typically impaired by a surrounding pattern (context) with an orientation that is parallel to the target, relative to a surrounding pattern with an orientation that is orthogonal to the target (orientation-dependent contextual modulation). Based on reports that this effect is reduced in those with schizophrenia, we hypothesised that there would be a negative relationship between the relative score on psychometrically-defined schizotypy and the relative effect of orientation-dependent contextual modulation. We measured visual contrast detection thresholds and scores on the Oxford-Liverpool Inventory of Feelings and Experiences (O-LIFE) from a non-clinical sample (N = 100). Contrary to our hypothesis, we find an absence of a monotonic relationship between the relative magnitude of orientation-dependent contextual modulation of visual contrast detection and the relative score on any of the subscales of the O-LIFE. The apparent difference of this result with previous reports on those with schizophrenia suggests that orientation-dependent contextual modulation may be an informative condition in which schizophrenia and psychometrically-defined schizotypy are dissociated. However, further research is also required to clarify the strength of orientation-dependent contextual modulation in those with schizophrenia.
Keywords: Contextual modulation; Contrast detection; Psychophysics; Schizophrenia; Schizotypy; Surround suppression; Vision.