Functional near-infrared spectroscopy reveals altered hemispheric laterality in relation to schizotypy during verbal fluency task

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Previous functional neuroimaging studies have demonstrated that patients with schizophrenia and those with schizotypal personality disorder (SPD) show reduced laterality, or relative right hemispheric dominance, during the performance of cognitive activation tasks; however, neuroimaging studies looking at non-clinical schizotypy have been few. We have recently reported that schizotypal traits at a non-clinical level are associated with right prefrontal dominance during a letter version of the verbal fluency task (VFT), but it is unknown whether such relationship between schizotypy and functional laterality would be observed across various cognitive tasks. Here we examined the relationships of schizotypal traits as measured by the Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire (SPQ) in healthy adults with hemispheric lateralization of prefrontal activation during letter and category VFTs, using near-infrared spectroscopy. Thirty-two participants were divided into high- (n = 16) and low- (n = 16) SPQ groups by the median split of the total SPQ score. The high-SPQ group, but not low-SPQ group, showed significantly right-greater-than-left asymmetry of prefrontal activation during letter VFT, whereas such pronounced hemispheric asymmetry in relation to schizotypy was not found during category VFT. These results indicate that non-clinical schizotypy is related to right prefrontal preference during the letter version of VFT in particular, suggesting that the association between schizotypal traits and functional laterality may vary depending on cognitive activation tasks.

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