Comparing implicit and explicit semantic access of direct and indirect word pairs in schizophrenia to evaluate models of semantic memory

Erica Neill, Susan Lee Rossell

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Semantic memory deficits in schizophrenia (SZ) are profound, yet there is no research comparing implicit and explicit semantic processing in the same participant sample. In the current study, both implicit and explicit priming are investigated using direct (LION-TIGER) and indirect (LION-STRIPES; where tiger is not displayed) stimuli comparing SZ to healthy controls. Based on a substantive review (Rossell and Stefanovic, 2007) and meta-analysis (Pomarol-Clotet et al., 2008), it was predicted that SZ would be associated with increased indirect priming implicitly. Further, it was predicted that SZ would be associated with abnormal indirect priming explicitly, replicating earlier work (Assaf et al., 2006). No specific hypotheses were made for implicit direct priming due to the heterogeneity of the literature. It was hypothesised that explicit direct priming would be intact based on the structured nature of this task. The pattern of results suggests (1) intact reaction time (RT) and error performance implicitly in the face of abnormal direct priming and (2) impaired RT and error performance explicitly. This pattern confirms general findings regarding implicit/explicit memory impairments in SZ whilst highlighting the unique pattern of performance specific to semantic priming. Finally, priming performance is discussed in relation to thought disorder and length of illness
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199 - 204
Number of pages6
JournalPsychiatry Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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