by Regan Patrick

Institution: McMaster University
Degree: PhD
Year: 2014
Keywords: schizophrenia; cognition; emotion
Record ID: 2045438
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/11375/15439


The primary goal of this thesis was to characterize the parameters under which faulty emotion-cognition interactions emerge in Schizophrenia (SCZ). Its theoretical basis rests on neurobiological models specifying two related, yet independent, brain systems that govern how cognitive versus emotional processing impacts behaviour, and related research indicating differential impairment of the cognitive system in SCZ. These models predict that the disruptive impact of emotional information may be greatest when it is actionable and signals a competing response. However, most previous research on patients with SCZ has focused on the influence of extraneous emotional interference on primary cognitive processing. Thus, the central hypothesis guiding these experiments was that patients with SCZ will have the most difficulty prioritizing goal-directed, cognitive response cues in the face of countermanding emotional cues which impel an alternative response. Several different experimental tasks were used to interrogate this hypothesis, at both the behavioural and neural level. Overall, the results confirm that SCZ patients have difficulty prioritizing cognitive determinants of behaviour when emotion-laden information serves as an actionable and opposing response cue. However, the data are not conclusive; effect sizes were generally modest and results were not entirely consistent across studies. Therefore, while these experiments support dual-system neurobiological models of SCZ-related brain pathology, and provide interesting tentative suggestions for novel clinical approaches to treatment and remediation, further research is needed to fully understand dysregulated emotion-cognition antagonism in this clinical population. Thesis Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)