Reduced latent inhibition in people with schizophrenia: An effect of psychosis or of its treatment

J. H. Williams, N. A. Wellman, D. P. Geaney, P. J. Cowen, J. Feldon, J. N.P. Rawlins*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

122 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background People with schizophrenia show impaired attention. This could result from reduced latent inhibition (a measure of ability to filter out irrelevant stimuli). Previous studies have found reduced auditory latent inhibition in people with acute schizophrenia: we tested whether this results from psychosis or from drug treatment. Method We measured auditory latent inhibition in two studies. One compared antipsychotic-naive people with acute schizophrenia with patients within two weeks of starting antipsychotic treatment. The second compared healthy volunteers given either saline or 1.0 mg haloperidol, intravenously. Results Latent inhibition was absent in treated patients, but was clearly present in patients who were naive to antipsychotic. Latent inhibition was absent in volunteers given haloperidol, but was clearly present in those given saline. Conclusions The reduced auditory latent inhibition seen in acute schizophrenia is more plausibly due to antipsychotic treatment than to the disorder. Unless neuropsychological models of schizophrenia incorporate evidence from drug-free patients and drug-treated healthy controls, they may be invalid.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243-249
Number of pages7
JournalBritish Journal of Psychiatry
Volume172
Issue numberMAR.
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1998
Externally publishedYes

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