Self-Reported Perceptual Aberrations in Psychosis Map to Event-Related Potentials and Semantic Appraisals of Objects

Julia M. Longenecker, Victor J. Pokorny, Seung Suk Kang, Cheryl A. Olman, Scott R. Sponheim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Psychotic disorders have been associated with visual deficits and deviant semantic processing, making it unclear whether object detection abnormalities in psychosis originate from low-level or higher-order visual processes. The current study investigated how high-level visual processing is affected in psychosis by presenting object stimuli with equivalent low-level visual features. Outpatients with affective and nonaffective psychotic disorders, first-degree biological relatives, and psychiatrically unaffected individuals (N = 130) completed the Fragmented Ambiguous Object Task (FAOT) to assess recognition of objects in ambiguous stimuli. During the task, we recorded electroencephalography, quantified event-related potential (ERP) components (P1, N1, negative closure [NCL], N400), and derived four spatiotemporal event-related potential factors using principal components analysis (PCA). In addition to traditional diagnoses, psychosis was characterized using a dimensional measure of individual differences in self-reported sensory experiences (perceptual absorption) calculated from scales that tap the psychotic domain of the hierarchical structure of psychopathology. Rates of detecting objects within fragmented stimuli failed to differ across diagnostic groups or significantly predict perceptual absorption (p =.057). PCA factors that reflected smaller N1 and larger NCL amplitudes were associated with detecting objects. Exploratory analyses revealed that higher perceptual absorption was associated with reductions in the N400 and a late positive PCA factor. Although early and midlatency brain responses modulate during object detection, late brain responses tied to semantic appraisal of objects are related to perceptual aberrations often reported by individuals with severe psychopathology. Dimensional measures of personality appear sensitive to variation in biological systems relevant to psychotic symptomatology and object perception

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)785-796
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of abnormal psychology
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021,Journal of Abnormal Psychology.All Rights Reserved


  • EEG
  • psychosis
  • schizophrenia
  • visual processing
  • Evoked Potentials/physiology
  • Psychotic Disorders/physiopathology
  • Semantics
  • Humans
  • Self Report
  • Perception/physiology
  • Electroencephalography

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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