Event-Related Potentials (ERPs) as Indicators of Risk for Schizophrenia

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Evidence is reviewed concerning the viability of cognitive event-related potential (ERP) indices to serve as psychophysiological markers for liability to schizophrenia and schizophrenia-related disorders. Methodologic problems that hinder the establishment of ERPs as such markers are also detailed. The ERP data from prospective high-risk and family-transmission paradigms were subjected to criteria that have been used to establish the marker status of a psychobiological variable. It is concluded that (1) there is a clear need for more studies of ERP component stability and of transmission of ERP parameters within normal families; (2) multiple tasks (in addition to the oddball experiment) must be used to probe the range of information-processing deficits in the schizophrenic syndrome; (3) investigators should pay greater attention to the scalp distribution of ERP components; and (4) profiles of multiple ERP indices may be required to enhance the probability of achieving diagnostic specificity.

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