Grasping behavior in schizophrenia suggests selective impairment in the dorsal visual pathway.
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This study frames anomalous functional brain organization in schizophrenia (SCZ) within an evolutionary model of brain development, the dual trends theory (DTT). The DTT argues that neural architecture develops along 2 separate pathways: the dorsal archicortical trend and the ventral paleocortical trend. The DTT dovetails with visual system organization, which is also composed of 2 independent pathways: a dorsal stream dedicated to visuomotor action and a ventral stream dedicated to perceptual processing. The present study examined the integrity of these pathways using a size-contrast visual illusion. Prior research has shown that, normally, perceptual estimations of object size are susceptible to visual illusions, whereas goal-directed actions are resistant. The authors hypothesized that, unlike control participants, SCZ patients' actions would be susceptible to the illusion, reflecting dorsal stream dysfunction. Here, 42 SCZ patients and 42 healthy controls grasped and estimated the size of target blocks in control and illusion conditions. During estimation, both groups were equally perturbed by the illusion; however, grasping movements of patients alone were influenced by the illusion. These results suggest disrupted dorsal brain circuitry in SCZ but relatively intact ventral circuitry.
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