When time is out of joint: Schizophrenia and functional neuroimaging

Dan Lloyd

in Psychiatry as Cognitive Neuroscience

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print May 2009 | ISBN: 9780199238033
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191754562 | DOI:

Series: International Perspectives in Philosophy & Psychiatry

When time is out of joint: Schizophrenia and functional neuroimaging

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  • Psychiatry
  • Clinical Neuroscience


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Schizophrenia is characterized by disparate symptoms, a broad spectrum of cognitive deficits, and an equally broad spectrum of alterations in brain function and brain anatomy. Accordingly, some recent attempts to identify the brain dysfunctions responsible for schizophrenia symptoms have abandoned the search for specific loci of dysfunction, considering instead abnormal interactions among neurocognitive modules. For example, separate proposals by Andreassen, Frith, and Friston (among others) attribute some symptoms to dysregulation of recurrent circuits involving multiple brain areas. However, recurrent network models of the illness will require rethinking the role of neuroimaging in its exploration. First, an alteration in regional activity can no longer be interpreted as a simple hypo- or hyper-expression of the normal function of the region, since dysregulated interaction entails that inputs to a region are abnormal, along with the regional function itself. The resultant interactive effects may not be easy to characterize, a difficulty enhanced by recurrent feedback, which may further compound the abnormalities in function. In response to this difficulty, we explore a method for measuring the fidelity of recurrent information in the brain, using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during an auditory oddball task. The observed alteration in recurrent information processing also lends itself to a phenomenological interpretation: Accurate recurrent information retention is necessary for the faithful representation of temporality; its dysregulation would destabilize phenomenological reality at its most basic level. Some schizophrenia symptoms may be seen as expressions of or responses to this radical dislocation.

Chapter.  9111 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Psychiatry ; Clinical Neuroscience

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