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Thirty-Third Annual Meeting of the Society for Research in Psychopathology

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152. Attention and Mind Wandering in Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is associated with deficits in working memory capacity and sustained attention. However, little is known about what may underlie these deficits. Recent literature has shown that attentional control is a robust predictor of performance on cognitive tasks. This study investigated the relationship between performance on a working memory task and attentional control (i.e., mind wandering). Participants engaged in two visual working memory tasks throughout which they were probed to self-report mind wandering (i.e., disengagement from the present task). EEG was recorded throughout the task to obtain a biological measure of the degree to which working memory resources were activated relative to attentional resources. Participants with schizophrenia and healthy comparison participants (current n = 17 of 30) will be presented. Preliminary results show large differences between groups on working memory capacity such that individuals with schizophrenia had lower working memory capacity than healthy comparison participants, d = 1.01. As well, individuals with schizophrenia had higher alpha power than healthy comparison participants, suggesting greater task disengagement, d = .76. The results of this study have implications for understanding mechanisms related to impaired working memory performance in individuals with schizophrenia.

Chelsea Wood-Ross
Queen's University

Geoffrey Harrison
Queen's University

Mike Best
Queen's University

Jessica Eriksen
Queen's University

Christopher Bowie
Queen's University


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