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Title page for ETD etd-07232012-030730

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Benson, Taylor Leigh
Author's Email Address taylor.l.benson@vanderbilt.edu
URN etd-07232012-030730
Title Enhanced visuospatial imagery manipulation in schizophrenia
Degree Master of Arts
Department Psychology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Sohee Park Committee Chair
Stephen Benning Committee Member
  • Working Memory
  • Mental Imagery
  • Schizophrenia
Date of Defense 2012-07-20
Availability unrestricted
The current study sought to expand on previous research by investigating the relationship between spatial working memory, visuospatial imagery, and temporo-parietal abnormalities in schizophrenia by examining the contributions of these spatial vulnerability markers to clinical correlates and individual psychopathology in medicated outpatients with chronic schizophrenia.

Compared to healthy controls, patients with schizophrenia exhibited 1) impaired performance on a spatial working memory task; 2) equal performance on Raven’s Matrices and Paper Folding Test; and 3) enhanced performance on an imagery-based jigsaw puzzle task. For healthy controls, spatial working memory and mental imagery abilities are closely related. In contrast, these two functions are dissociated in schizophrenia, which may indicate abnormal connectivity of the frontoparietal network.

I propose that the dissociation between working memory and mental imagery may be a more refined endophenotype candidate for schizophrenia than spatial working memory deficit alone, and conclude with future directions to investigate schizophrenia liability by evaluating differential contributions of multiple markers, risk factors and stressors across the schizophrenia spectrum to help elucidate the factors that lead to schizophrenia symptomatology.

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