Olfaction, Attention, Schizotypy, Schizotypal Personality Disorder, Schizophrenia-Spectrum Disorders
Olfactory identification deficits have received recent attention as a potentially useful endophenotype for schizophrenia. Examination of this deficit in individuals with schizotypal personality features (SPF) offers an alternative approach to multiple confounds present when examining individuals with schizophrenia. The aim of the current study was to compare the relative sensitivity of performance on measures of olfaction identification and sustained attention to the presence of SPF. Twenty-six undergraduates were defined as having SPF based on scoring in the top 10% of the Abbreviated Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire (SPQ-B; mean age 19.6, SD = 1.1; 62% female). These individuals were compared to twenty-six controls (scoring lower than half a standard deviation above the mean; mean age 19.8, SD = 1.6; 62% female). All participants were administered the Schizotypal Personality Disorder (SPD) section of the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM IV Axis II Personality Disorders (SCID-II). In addition, participants were administered the Brief Smell Identification Test (B-SIT) and a six-minute degraded-stimuli Continuous Performance Test (CPT). Group differences in performance indices of the CPT did not approach statistical significance. Similarly, there were no statistically significant group differences for males or females in performance on the B-SIT. Correlational analyses examined cognitive performance with a dimension score derived by summing quantitative ratings from the SPD items on the SCID-II. The SPD dimension score showed a statistically significant positive correlation with several performance indices of the CPT, including omission errors (rs(52) = .51, p ≤ .001) and commission errors (rs(52) = .38, p ≤ .005). In contrast, the B-SIT scores were not correlated with the SPD dimension score for males or females. Contrary to our hypothesis, results from the current study suggest that olfactory identification deficits may not represent a robust endophenotype consistently found in samples with schizotypal personality features. With regard to sustained attention, our differential findings suggest that schizotypal traits may be more adequately assessed through an interview by trained clinicians who use clinical judgment to determine the presence of phenotypic aspects of SPD (e.g., SCID-II), rather than relying on self-report measures (e.g., SPQ-B). Implications as well as limitations and future directions of these findings are discussed.
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Master of Science (M.S.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Kamath, Vidyulata, "The Relative Sensitivity Of An Olfactory Identification Deficit In Individuals With Schizotypal Personality Features" (2007). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 3220.