Mar 03, 2008
Allocentric memory impaired and egocentric memory intact as assessed by virtual reality in recent-onset schizophrenia
Allocentric memory impaired and egocentric memory intact as assessed by virtual reality in recent-onset schizophrenia.
Schizophr Res. 2008 Feb 12;
Authors: Weniger G, Irle E
Present evidence suggests that schizophrenia is associated with explicit memory deficits, whereas implicit memory seems to be largely preserved. Virtual reality studies on declarative allocentric memory in schizophrenia are rare, and studies on implicit egocentric memory in schizophrenia are lacking. However, virtual realities have a major advantage for the assessment of spatial navigation and memory formation, as computer-simulated first-person environments can simulate navigation in a large-scale space. Twenty-five subjects with recent-onset schizophrenia were compared with 25 healthy matched control subjects on two virtual reality tasks affording the navigation and learning of a virtual park (allocentric memory) and a virtual maze (egocentric memory). Compared with control subjects, schizophrenia subjects were significantly impaired in learning the virtual park. However, schizophrenia subjects were as able as control subjects to learn the virtual maze. Stronger disorganized symptoms of schizophrenia subjects were significantly related to more errors on the virtual maze. It is concluded that egocentric spatial learning adds to the many other implicit cognitive skills being largely preserved in schizophrenia. Possibly, the more global neural network supporting egocentric spatial learning is less affected than the declarative hippocampal memory system in early stages of schizophrenia and may offer opportunities for compensation in the presence of focal deficits.