Attentional control and word inhibition in schizophrenia

Avishai Henik, Cameron S. Carter, Ruth Salo, Marc Chaderjian, Louis Kraft, Thomas E. Nordahl, Lynn C. Robertson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Previous studies have suggested that schizophrenia patients do not utilize contextual information efficiently to modulate attentional performance. The goal of the current study was to compare the utilization of context in modulating responses to irrelevant information on the Stroop task between a group of schizophrenia outpatients and matched controls. A single-trial version of the Stroop task was used to investigate performance on the Stroop task under three expectancy conditions. Eleven schizophrenia outpatients (on and off antipsychotic medication) and sixteen matched controls were tested. The schizophrenia patients showed: (1) augmented facilitation; (2) interference comparable to normals; and (3) normal ability to reduce interference under certain experimental circumstances. Schizophrenia patients were able to utilize contextual information under certain conditions and could modulate the magnitude of irrelevant word interference, although they were not able to overcome the prepotent tendency to read the word during the Stroop task as effectively as normals, which was reflected in greater Stroop facilitation. This suggests that the integrity or impairment of cognitive control functions in schizophrenia is related to the complexity of the context representation required to support that function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-149
Number of pages13
JournalPsychiatry Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2002


  • Expectancy
  • Schizophrenia
  • Stroop task

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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