Contribution of coherent motion to the perception of biological motion among persons with schizophrenia

Justine M.Y. Spencer, Allison B. Sekuler, Patrick J. Bennett, Bruce K. Christensen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


People with schizophrenia (SCZ) are impaired in several domains of visual processing, including the discrimination and detection of biological motion. However, the mechanisms underlying SCZ-related biological motion processing deficits are unknown. Moreover, whether these impairments are specific to biological motion or represent a more widespread visual motion processing deficit is unclear. In the current study, three experiments were conducted to investigate the contribution of global coherent motion processing to biological motion perception among patients with SCZ. In Experiments 1 and 2, participants with SCZ (n = 33) and healthy controls (n = 33) were asked to discriminate the direction of motion from upright and inverted point-light walkers in the presence and absence of a noise mask. Additionally, participants discriminated the direction of non-biological global coherent motion. In Experiment 3, participants discriminated the direction of motion from upright scrambled walkers (which contained only local motion information) and upright random position walkers (which contained only global form information). Consistent with previous research, results from Experiment 1 and 2 showed that people with SCZ exhibited deficits in the direction discrimination of point-light walkers; however, this impairment was accounted for by decreased performance in the coherent motion control task. Furthermore, results from Experiment 3 demonstrated similar performance in the discrimination of scrambled and random position point-light walkers.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberArticle 507
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Issue numberAUG
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


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