2 Dec 2015: Disorganization in Schizophrenia: Convergence of Clinical and Experimental Data with Information Theory and Neurobiology

Steve Silverstein
Professor of Psychiatry, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, and
Director of Research, Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care

Schizophrenia is a heterogeneous syndrome in terms of symptoms and course of illness.  While much work has focused on understanding the nature of psychotic symptoms, and to a lesser extent negative symptoms, the highly disabling disorganization syndrome has received little attention.  This presentation will begin by giving clinical examples of disorganization in thought, language, and perception.  Experimental data will then be used to demonstrate examples of disorganization in perception, their relationships to thought disorder, and the view that each of these is a manifestation of a canonical processing impairment involving coordination of cognitive activity based on context. The information theoretic concept of coherent infomax will then be described as a way to formally understand contextual modulation of perceptual and cognitive activity, and its failures in schizophrenia.
Implementation of the neural goal function of coherent infomax via apical amplification and dis-amplification will be described, as will the implications of this view for an understanding of schizophrenia.