Embodied and disembodied allocentric simulation in high schizotypal subjects

Roberta Vastano, Valentina Sulpizio, Martin Steinisch, Silvia Comani, Giorgia Committeri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

It is known that non-clinical subjects with high levels of schizotypal personality traits (High-S), as well as schizophrenic patients, have difficulties to judge how a scene would appear (so-called Appearance questions) from a point of view other than their own after having performed a disembodied perspective taking (D-PT, a mental self-rotation cued by an object like a chair). This inability has been defined allocentric simulation deficit. However, it is still unclear whether this inability might also regard an embodied transformation (E-PT), which is a self-rotation cued by another individual in the scene, and whether the observed deficit regards the pure mental transformation phase. In the present study, we took advantage of a virtual reality environment to explore both embodied and disembodied allocentric simulation in healthy volunteers with low and high levels of schizotypal personality traits, as assessed by the Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire. All subjects performed a pure self-rotation cued by a chair (D-PT) or by an avatar (E-PT), or a control array rotation. Each rotation was followed by classical Appearance and Item questions. Results revealed no between-groups differences in the mental transformation phase, while High-S subjects were significantly slower than Low-S subjects in the Appearance task after D-PT, but not after E-PT. Accordingly, higher schizotypy levels (cognitive-perceptual subscale) were positively correlated with slower reaction times in the Appearance task after D-PT. These data suggest the existence of a disembodied allocentric simulation deficit in non-clinical High-S, paving the way to future studies on clinical populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3023-3033
Number of pages11
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Volume232
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 19 2014

Keywords

  • Mental transformations
  • Personality traits
  • Perspective taking
  • Schizotypy
  • Self-rotation
  • Virtual reality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Medicine(all)

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