Defective Interhemispheric Integration and Anomalous Language Lateralization in Children at Risk for Schizophrenia

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The present study was carried out to determine whether children at risk for schizophrenia might exhibit abnormalities in test performance indicative of defective interhemispheric integration and abnormal specialization of language function. Twenty-two high-risk and 22 matched normal children were administered two independent tests of speech comprehension, delivered under monaural and binaural listening conditions, and a standard verbal dichotic listening test. On both comprehension tests the high-risk children exhibited significantly poorer binaural, relative to monaural, recall. On the verbal dichotic test the normal group exhibited a significant right ear advantage whereas for the high-risk group there was no significant difference between right and left ear recall. These results were taken to indicate abnormalities of both interhemispheric integration and language specialization in the high-risk group. Analyses indicate that these two abnormalities may be related in a specific fashion. The implications of these results are discussed within a developmental framework.

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