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Vulnerability to Distraction in Schizophrenia

Chieffi S, Iavarone A, La Marra M, Messina G, Dalia C, Viggiano A, De Luca V and Marcellino Monda

Attentional processes enhancing relevant information and attenuating competing irrelevant information are required for coherent and effective action. One of deficits that may characterize schizophrenia is the impairment of the ability in focusing on relevant information while inhibiting the irrelevant. The intrusion of irrelevant stimuli during information processing may impair cognitive and behavioral functioning. In this paper we review studies that investigated the vulnerability to distracting stimuli in schizophrenia by using visual interference paradigms, namely flanker, Stroop, and negative priming paradigms. Overall these researches showed attentional inhibition abnormalities in schizophrenia, although several studies failed to replicate these observations. Conflicting evidence may depend on different sources of noise, including specific parameters of the task, clinical symptoms, and drug status.