Impairments in auditory and visual processing are common in schizophrenia (SP). In the unisensory realm visual deficits are primarily noted for the dorsal visual stream. In addition, insensitivity to timing offsets between stimuli are widely reported for SP. The aim of the present study was to test at the physiological level differences in dorsal/ventral stream visual processing and timing sensitivity between SP and healthy controls (HC) using MEG and a simple auditory/visual task utilizing a variety of multisensory conditions. The paradigm included all combinations of synchronous/asynchronous and central/peripheral stimuli, yielding 4 task conditions. Both HC and SP groups showed activation in parietal areas (dorsal visual stream) during all multisensory conditions, with parietal areas showing decreased activation for SP relative to HC, and a significantly delayed peak of activation for SP in intraparietal sulcus (IPS). We also observed a differential effect of stimulus synchrony on HC and SP parietal response. Furthermore, a (negative) correlation was found between SP positive symptoms and activity in IPS. Taken together, our results provide evidence of impairment of the dorsal visual stream in SP during a multisensory task, along with an altered response to timing offsets between presented multisensory stimuli.
Keywords: Dorsal visual stream; Magnetoencephalography; Multisensory integration; Parietal lobe; Schizophrenia; Visual field.
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