Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society



CRITICAL REVIEW

Semantic priming in schizophrenia: A review and synthesis


MICHAEL J.  MINZENBERG  a1 c1, BETH A.  OBER  a2 and SOPHIA  VINOGRADOV  a1
a1 Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco and Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, San Francisco, California
a2 Department of Human and Community Development, University of California, Davis and Department of Veterans Affairs Northern California Health Care System, Martinez, California

Abstract

In this paper, we present a review of semantic priming experiments in schizophrenia. Semantic priming paradigms show utility in assessing the role of deficits in semantic memory network access in the pathology of schizophrenia. The studies are placed in the context of current models of information processing. In this review we include all English-language reports (from peer-reviewed journals) of single-word semantic priming studies involving participants with schizophrenia. The studies to date show schizophrenic patients to exhibit variable semantic priming effects under automatic processing conditions, and consistent impairments under controlled/attentional conditions. We also describe associations with other neurocognitive dysfunction, neurochemical and electrophysiological disturbances, and clinical manifestations (such as thought disorder). (JINS, 2002, 8, 699–720.)

(Received October 9 2000)
(Revised June 4 2001)
(Accepted June 5 2001)


Key Words: Semantic priming; Schizophrenia; Semantic memory; Language; Information processing.

Correspondence:
c1 Reprint requests to: Michael J. Minzenberg, M.D., Department Psychiatry, 116C, DVA Medical Center, 4150 Clement Street, San Francisco, CA 94121. E-mail: mjminz@itsa.ucsf.edu