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Consolidating p47

We view these as the core findings that any theory of WM impairments in schizophrenia must explain.It is clearly plausible that multiple independent specific impairments underlie the performance deficits observed in schizophrenia patients in WM tasks.The fact that deficits are observed across a wide variety of stimulus types argues for an amodal level of impairment (Coleman et al., 2002; Fleming et al., 1995; Fleming et al., 1997; Javitt, Strous, Grochowski, Ritter, & Cowan, 1997; see Lee & Park, 2005, for a review; Park & Holzman, 1992).

An array of pattern masks was inserted into the delay interval--covering the locations of the sample-array squares--100-800 ms after the offset of the sample array.

If a durable WM representation is formed prior to mask onset, the mask should not impair performance.

However, an explanation of this broad range of findings based on a single underlying impairment would be far more satisfying and would point toward specific neural mechanisms.

One such explanation is that the processes that transform perceptual representations into WM representations are impaired in schizophrenia, resulting in the creation of imprecise and noisy WM representations.

Thus, although findings from other paradigms are consistent with impaired WM consolidation, these findings are only suggestive.

We recently reported empirical evidence of a deficit in the rate at which patients with schizophrenia are able to perform WM consolidation using a masking paradigm that was originally developed by Vogel et al. In this experiment (Fuller, Luck, Mc Mahon, & Gold, 2005), observers were presented with a for an example of a similar paradigm).

On some trials, the delay interval was unfilled, allowing 1000 ms of uninterrupted processing time.

On other trials, an array of pattern masks was presented at an interval varying from 17–483 ms following the offset of the sample array.

Although deficits are magnified at higher levels of WM load (Carter et al., 1998), the fact that deficits may also be observed when subjects are asked to remember only 1–2 highly discriminable targets (Park & Holzman, 1992) suggests that a simple reduction in storage capacity cannot explain the overall pattern of results documented in the literature.

Further, the fact that deficits are observed with unspeeded free response and forced choice methods argues against an impairment localized at the level of response selection.

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