Predictive Modulation of Corticospinal Excitability and Implicit Encoding of Movement Probability in Schizophrenia

Schizophr Bull. 2019 Oct 24;45(6):1358-1366. doi: 10.1093/schbul/sby186.


The ability to infer from uncertain information is impaired in schizophrenia and is associated with hallucinations and false beliefs. The accumulation of information is a key process for generating a predictive internal model, which statistically estimates an outcome from a specific situation. This study examines if updating the predictive model by the accumulation of information in absence of feedback is impaired in schizophrenia. We explored the implicit adaptation to the probability of being instructed to perform a movement (33%-Go, 50%-Go, or 66%-Go) in a Go/NoGo task in terms of reaction times (RTs), electromyographic activity, and corticospinal excitability (CSE) of primary motor cortex (M1). CSE was assessed at two time points to evaluate prediction of the upcoming instruction based on previously accumulated information: at rest (preceding the warning signal) and at the Go/NoGo signal onset. Three groups were compared: patients with schizophrenia (n = 20), unaffected siblings (n = 16), and healthy controls (n = 20). Controls and siblings showed earlier movement onset and increased CSE with higher Go probability. CSE adaptation seemed long-lasting, because the two CSE measures, at least 1500 ms apart, strongly correlated. Patients with schizophrenia failed to show movement onset (RT) adaptation and modulation of CSE. In contrast, all groups decreased movement duration with increasing Go probability. Modulation of CSE in the anticipatory phase of the potential movement reflected the estimation of upcoming response probability in unaffected controls and siblings. Impaired modulation of CSE supports the hypothesis that implicit adaptation to probabilistic context is altered in schizophrenia.

Keywords: Go-NoGo; TMS; adaptation; internal model; prediction; schizophrenia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cortical Excitability*
  • Electromyography
  • Electrophysiological Phenomena
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Cortex / physiopathology*
  • Movement*
  • Probability
  • Psychomotor Performance*
  • Pyramidal Tracts / physiopathology*
  • Reaction Time
  • Schizophrenia / physiopathology*
  • Siblings*
  • Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation*
  • Young Adult