Deficient multisensory integration in schizophrenia: An event-related potential study

J.J. Stekelenburg, J.P. Maes, A.R. van Gool, M.M. Sitskoorn, J. Vroomen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)


In many natural audiovisual events (e.g., the sight of a face articulating the syllable /ba/), the visual signal precedes the sound and thus allows observers to predict the onset and the content of the sound. In healthy adults, the N1 component of the event-related brain potential (ERP), reflecting neural activity associated with basic sound processing, is suppressed if a sound is accompanied by a video that reliably predicts sound onset. If the sound does not match the content of the video (e.g., hearing /ba/ while lipreading /fu/), the later occurring P2 component is affected. Here, we examined whether these visual information sources affect auditory processing in patients with schizophrenia.
The electroencephalography (EEG) was recorded in 18 patients with schizophrenia and compared with that of 18 healthy volunteers. As stimuli we used video recordings of natural actions in which visual information preceded and predicted the onset of the sound that was either congruent or incongruent with the video.
For the healthy control group, visual information reduced the auditory-evoked N1 if compared to a sound-only condition, and stimulus-congruency affected the P2. This reduction in N1 was absent in patients with schizophrenia, and the congruency effect on the P2 was diminished. Distributed source estimations revealed deficits in the network subserving audiovisual integration in patients with schizophrenia.
The results show a deficit in multisensory processing in patients with schizophrenia and suggest that multisensory integration dysfunction may be an important and, to date, under-researched aspect of schizophrenia.
Keywords: Schizophrenia, Event-related brain potentials, Auditory N1, P2, Multisensory perception, Audiovisual integration, Temporal prediction
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-261
JournalSchizophrenia Research
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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