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Is schizotypic maternal personality linked to sensory gating abilities during infancy?

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Smith, Eleanor S 
Crawford, Trevor J 
Thomas, Megan 
Reid, Vincent M 


Schizotypy is a personality dimension within the general population elevated among schizophrenia-spectrum patients and their first-degree relatives. Sensory gating is the pre-attentional habituation of responses distinguishing between important and irrelevant information. This is measured by event-related potentials, which have been found to display abnormalities in schizophrenic disorders. The current study investigated whether 6-month-old infants of mothers with schizotypic traits display sensory gating abnormalities. The paired-tone paradigm: two identical auditory tones (stimulus 1 and stimulus 2) played 500 ms apart, was used to probe the selective activation of the brain during 15-minutes of sleep. Their mothers completed the Oxford and Liverpool Inventory of Feelings and Experiences-Short Form as an index of schizotypy dimensionality, categorized into: infants of control, and infants of schizotypic, mothers. The findings revealed that although the infants' P50 components displayed significant differences between stimulus 1 and stimulus 2 in the paired-tone paradigm, there was no clear difference between infants of schizotypic and infants of control mothers. In contrast, all mothers displayed significant differences between stimulus 1 and stimulus 2, as observed in the infants, but also significant differences between their sensory gating ability correlated with schizotypy dimensionality. These findings are consistent with sensory processes, such as sensory gating, evidencing impairment in schizophrenia-spectrum disorders. The present research supports the idea that first-degree relatives of individuals who identify on this spectrum, within the sub-clinical category, do not display the same deficit at 6 postnatal months of age.



EEG, Event-related potential, Infancy, Schizotypy, Sensory gating, Acoustic Stimulation, Adult, Female, Humans, Infant, Male, Maternal Health, Mother-Child Relations, Schizotypal Personality Disorder, Sensory Gating

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Exp Brain Res

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Springer Science and Business Media LLC