Explicit Time Deficit in Schizophrenia: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis Indicate It Is Primary and Not Domain Specific.
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schizophrenia, timing, cognitive deficits, meta-analysis
Although timing deficits are a robust finding in schizophrenia (SZ), the notion of a genuine time perception disorder in SZ is still being debated because distortions in timing might depend on neuropsychological deficits that are characteristics of the illness. Here we used meta-analytic methods to summarize the evidence of timing deficits in SZ and moderator analyses to determine whether defective timing in SZ arises from nontemporal sources or from defective time perception. PubMed Services, PsycNET, and Scopus were searched through March 2015, and all references in articles were investigated to find other relevant studies. Studies were selected if they included subjects with a primary diagnosis of SZ compared to a healthy control (HC) group and if they reported behavioral measures of duration estimation (perceptual and motor explicit timing). Data from 24 studies published from 1956 to 2015, which comprised 747 SZ individuals and 808 HC, were included. Results indicate that SZ individuals are less accurate than HC in estimating time duration across a wide range of tasks. Subgroup analyses showed that the fundamental timing deficit in SZ is independent from the length of the to-be-timed duration (automatic and cognitively controlled timing) and from methods of stimuli estimation (perceptual and motor timing). Thus, time perception per se is disturbed in SZ (not just task-specific timing processes) and this perturbation is independent from more generalized cognitive impairments. Behavioral evidence of disturbed automatic timing should be more thoroughly investigated with the aim of defining it as a cognitive phenotype for more homogeneous diagnostic subgrouping.