Brain Responses at Encoding Predict Limited Verbal Memory Retrieval by Persons with Schizophrenia

Julia M. Longenecker, Noah C. Venables, Seung Suk Kang, Kathryn A. McGuire, Scott R. Sponheim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objective: Special attention has been given to verbal memory deficits in schizophrenia because they are apparent in healthy biological relatives of affected individuals, indicating a link to genetic risk for the disorder. Despite a growing consensus that encoding abnormalities contribute to poor verbal memory in the disorder, few studies have directly examined how neural responses during encoding contribute to later memory performance.

Method: We evaluated event-related potentials (ERPs) during encoding of verbal material by patients with schizophrenia, healthy first-degree biological relatives of patients, and healthy controls. The extent to which N1, N400, and anterior and parietal Late Positive Components (LPCs) explained encoding accuracy and later memory of material was investigated.

Results: Encoding accuracy was associated with asymmetry in anterior LPCs toward right frontal brain regions and was most evident in relatives. N1 was abnormal at encoding in schizophrenia and differentially accounted for later memory performance. In controls better recall of verbal material was predicted by a larger early occipital (N1) encoding response; however, in patients with schizophrenia smaller N1 encoding responses were related to better recall. Interestingly, better recognition of verbal material across groups was also predicted by smaller N1 amplitudes during encoding of word stimuli.

Conclusion: Separable patterns of electrophysiological response during encoding appear to differentially support recall and recognition of material from memory. Similar patterns of electrophysiological response across patient and relative groups suggest that those who carry genetic liability for schizophrenia share deviations in the neural activity related to encoding of material into episodic memory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)477-490
Number of pages14
JournalArchives of clinical neuropsychology : the official journal of the National Academy of Neuropsychologists
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018


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