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Ahmad Abu-Akel, Julie Ramain, Chrisitne Mohr; Autistic and positive schizotypal traits modulate cognitive control tendencies. Journal of Vision 2018;18(10):1124. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/18.10.1124.
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Introduction: Independent lines of evidence suggest that autism and schizophrenia and the broader spectrum of their traits in neurotypical participants are associated with dysfunction in attention and cognitive control. However, recent evidence suggests that these conditions can co-occur at both the diagnostic and trait levels more than would be expected by chance. While a traditional view of these conditions suggests that such co-occurrence worsens attentional abilities, the 'diametric brain theory' posits opposing effects. Method: To test these contrasting hypotheses, autism traits and psychosis proneness were evaluated in tandem in 83 neurotypical adults (34 Females), on the assumption that autism tendencies and psychosis proneness are dimensions of normal variation. Attentional and cognitive control abilities were assessed using the AX-CPT task, where target (AX) trials occurred with 70% frequency, and nontarget trials occurred with 30% frequency evenly divided among AY, BX and BY trials. Results: Poisson regressions reveal that autism tendencies and psychosis proneness interactively reduced both omission (AX) and commission (AY) errors, such that the reduction is greatest when both tendencies are high than when both are low. On the other hand, psychosis proneness was associated with increased BX errors. Conclusion: The results suggest that autism tendencies and psychosis proneness interactively improve sustained attention and enhance cognitive control by reducing pre-potent response tendencies. The association of psychosis proneness with increased BX errors, suggest that reactive tendencies are enhanced in psychosis prone individuals. These results emphasize the importance of the simultaneous assessment of autism and psychosis to understanding attentional abilities in autism and schizophrenia spectrum disorders.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2018
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