Frontal alpha asymmetry in schizotypy: electrophysiological evidence for motivational dysfunction

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Schizotypy is defined as personality traits reflecting an underlying risk for schizophrenia-spectrum disorders. As yet, there is a dearth of suitable objective markers for measuring schizotypy. Frontal alpha asymmetry, characterised by reduced left versus right frontal region activity, reflects trait-like diminished approach-related systems and has been found in schizophrenia. The present study used electroencephalography (EEG) recorded on a consumer-grade mobile headset to examine asymmetric resting-state frontal alpha, beta, and gamma power within the multidimensional schizotypy (e.g. positive, negative, disorganised) during a three-minute "eyes closed" resting period in college undergraduates (=49). Findings suggest that schizotypy was exclusively related to reduced left versus right-lateralised power in the alpha frequency (8.1-12.9 Hz., = .16). Follow-up analysis suggested that positive schizotypy was uniquely associated with increased right alpha activity, indicating increased withdrawal motivation. Frontal asymmetry is a possible ecologically valid objective marker for schizotypy that may be detectable using easily accessible, consumer-grade technology.

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Cognitive neuropsychiatry

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