Research has suggested a hypoactive visual magnocellular (M) pathway in individuals with schizophrenia-spectrum disorders and traits, along with a unique response of this pathway to red light. As these abnormalities only appear in a subset of these samples, they may reflect unknown subtypes with unique etiologies and corresponding neuropathologies. The P1 transient visual-evoked component has been found to be influenced by M-pathway activity; therefore, the current study assessed the P1 component in response to a 64% contrast checker stimulus on white, red, and green background conditions. The sample consisted of 28 undergraduate participants (61% male) who endorsed a continuous range of total scores from the Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire (SPQ). Participants with higher total SPQ scores had a reduced P1 mean amplitude with the white (baseline) background, which was primarily related to the SPQ Magical Thinking subscale score. In addition, while participants with lower total SPQ scores showed the expected reduction in P1 amplitude to the red (vs. green) background, participants with higher total SPQ scores showed no change, which was primarily related to the SPQ Ideas of Reference subscale. This differential change to the red background remained after covarying for the P1 amplitude to the green background, thus representing a relatively independent effect. Further confirmation of these early visual processing relationships to particular clusters of symptoms in related psychiatric samples may assist in revealing unique, currently unknown, subtypes of particular psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia. This can direct treatment efforts toward more homogeneous neuropathology targets.
- Evoked-response potentials
- Magnocellular visual pathway
- Schizotypal personality disorder