Monitoring of self-generated speech in healthy adolescents and its links to schizotypal trait expression

Poster C124, Saturday, October 22, 11:30 am - 1:00 pm, Le Baron

George Salaminios1, Martin Debbané1,2; 1University College London, 2University of Geneva

Introduction: Current research suggests that self-monitoring cognitive biases linked to schizophrenia, are also observed among adolescents at high-risk for developing psychotic illnesses (Debbané et al, 2010). Our study examined differences in the monitoring of self-generated speech between healthy adolescents and adults, and their associations with schizotypal trait expression. Method: 167 adolescents and 19 healthy adults completed a self-monitoring task, in which they were asked to silently or overtly read a series of words or non-words (high cognitive effort) and subsequently attribute the reading condition for recognized items (silent vs. overt). Schizotypal traits were examined using the Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire (SPQ). Results: Adolescents exhibited significantly lower total recognition scores (p = 0.018) and significantly more internal attribution errors for non-words (p = 0.048) compared to adults. Follow-up correlations for internal self-monitoring errors for non-words in the adolescent group revealed a significant correlation with the “social anxiety” SPQ factor (rho=0.168; p = 0.03) and trend-level correlations with the “odd behaviour” (rho = 0.146; p = 0.06), “unusual perceptual experiences” (rho = 0.138; p = 0.07) and “no close friends” (rho = 0.141; p = 0.07) SPQ factors. Discussion: Our results demonstrate the presence of an internalizing bias for self-generated speech under conditions of high cognitive effort among healthy adolescents, as well as potential associations to dimensional aspects of schizotypal trait expression. Given that aberrant self-referential thinking has been linked to psychotic symptoms (Woodward et al, 2006), internal attribution biases may represent important prevention and early intervention targets during adolescent development.

Topic Area: Ultra High Risk / Prodromal Research

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