Recent clinical and neurobehavioral evidence suggests cerebellar dysfunction in schizophrenia (SZ). We used the prism adaptation motor task (PAT) to probe specific cerebellar circuits in the disorder. PAT requires cerebellum-dependent motor adaptation, perceptual remapping, and strategic control. A failure to engage in early corrective processes may indicate impairment within either the cerebellum or regions contributing to strategic components, such as the parietal lobe, while an inability to develop and retain a visuomotor shift with time strongly suggests cerebellar impairment. Thirty-one individuals with SZ and 31 individuals without a history of psychological disorders completed PAT. Subjects reached to a target before, during, and following prism exposure, while their movements were recorded using motion-sensing technology. The SZ group performed worse on conditions consisting of adaptation, post-adaptation, aftereffects, and reorientation, thereby demonstrating a failure to adapt to the same degree as healthy controls. SZ performance remained impaired even with visual feedback and did not differ from controls at baseline, suggesting the observed deficit is specific to adaptation. Results indicate that sensorimotor adaptation is impaired in SZ and implicate disturbances in cerebellar circuits.
Keywords: cerebellum; motor adaptation; prism adaptation; schizophrenia.
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