Emerging research on neuroplasticity processes in psychosis spectrum illnesses—from the synaptic to the macrocircuit levels—fill key gaps in our models of pathophysiology and open up important treatment considerations. In this selective narrative review, we focus on three themes, emphasizing alterations in spike-timing dependent and Hebbian plasticity that occur during adolescence, the critical period for prefrontal system development: (1) Experience-dependent dysplasticity in psychosis emerges from activity decorrelation within neuronal ensembles. (2) Plasticity processes operate bidirectionally: deleterious environmental and experiential inputs shape microcircuits. (3) Dysregulated plasticity processes interact across levels of scale and time and include compensatory mechanisms that have pathogenic importance. We present evidence that—given the centrality of progressive dysplastic changes, especially in prefrontal cortex—pharmacologic or neuromodulatory interventions will need to be supplemented by corrective learning experiences for the brain if we are to help people living with these illnesses to fully thrive.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)168-185
Number of pages18
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023


Dive into the research topics of 'Psychosis spectrum illnesses as disorders of prefrontal critical period plasticity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this