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34. Examining the influence of aberrant sense of agency in the visuomotor adaptation to random visual feedback perturbations
Background: Sensorimotor processes as related to impairments in the ability to classify and correctly utilize external feedback have been implicated in action attribution deficits in schizophrenia-spectrum disorders. However, there is inconsistent and limited evidence of these deficits in visuomotor tasks that depend on correct feedback processing. Method: Here we examined how schizophrenia patients (SZP, n=19) and controls (n=18) adapted to visual perturbations while they performed a 15 cm arm-reaching task in which their movements were hidden from view. The visual error feedback of the movement endpoint was perturbed with different magnitudes (within +4 cm). Over the sequence of movements we measured the change in the movement trajectory directions as a function of the size and direction of the prior perturbation on a trial-by-trial basis. Results: Both groups showed a positive association between the adaptation of the arm-reaching trajectory and the prior perturbation of endpoint feedback. These motor adaptation patterns were quantitatively similar between the two groups. Despite this similarity in behavior, SZP presented impaired sense of agency compared to healthy cohorts on the Sense of Agency scores (SoAS) (p=0.002). Conclusion: Our results suggest that the incorporation of external visual feedback with sensorimotor predictive mechanisms to improve future goal-driven movements is largely intact in SZ, despite differences in the Sense of Agency. Investigating the role of error feedback in motor adaptation might provide insight into the various stages of sensorimotor processing that are aberrant or unaltered in schizophrenia-spectrum disorders.