N400 event‐related brain potential and functional outcome in persons at clinical high risk for psychosis: A longitudinal study Academic Article uri icon

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  • BackgroundThe N400 event‐related brain potential (ERP) semantic priming effect is thought to reflect activation by meaningful stimuli of related concepts in semantic memory and has been found to be deficient in schizophrenia. We tested the hypothesis that, among individuals at clinical high risk (CHR) for psychosis, N400 semantic priming deficits predict worse symptomatic and functional outcomes after one year.MethodsWe measured N400 semantic priming at baseline in CHR patients (n = 47) and healthy control participants (n = 25) who viewed prime words each followed by a related or unrelated target word, at stimulus‐onset asynchronies (SOAs) of 300 or 750 ms. We measured patients' psychosis‐like symptoms with the Scale of Prodromal Symptoms (SOPS) Positive subscale, and academic/occupational and social functioning with the Global Functioning (GF):Role and Social scales, respectively, at baseline and one‐year follow‐up (n = 29).ResultsCHR patients exhibited less N400 semantic priming than controls across SOAs; planned contrasts indicated this difference was significant at the 750‐ms but not the 300‐ms SOA. In patients, reduced N400 semantic priming at the 750‐ms SOA was associated with lower GF:Social scores at follow‐up, and greater GF:Social decrements from baseline to follow‐up. Patients' N400 semantic priming was not associated with SOPS Positive or GF:Role scores at follow‐up, or change in these from baseline to follow‐up.ConclusionsIn CHR patients, reduced N400 semantic priming at baseline predicted worse social functioning after one year, and greater decline in social functioning over this period. Thus, the N400 may be a useful prognostic biomarker of real‐world functional outcome in CHR patients.


  • Lepock, Jennifer R
  • Mizrahi, Romina
  • Gerritsen, Cory J
  • Bagby, R Michael
  • Maheandiran, Margaret
  • Ahmed, Sarah
  • Korostil, Michele
  • Kiang, Michael

publication date

  • April 2022