Publication details

On the Role of Bilateral Brain Hypofunction and Abnormal Lateralization of Cortical Information Flow as Neural Underpinnings of Conventional Metaphor Processing Impairment in Schizophrenia: An fMRI and EEG Study



Year of publication 2021
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Brain Topography
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Medicine

Keywords Metaphor; Schizophrenia; Effective connectivity; Lateralization; Electroencephalography; Directed transfer function; Functional magnetic resonance imaging
Description Figurative language processing (e.g. metaphors) is commonly impaired in schizophrenia. In the present study, we investigated the neural activity and propagation of information within neural circuits related to the figurative speech, as a neural substrate of impaired conventional metaphor processing in schizophrenia. The study included 30 schizophrenia outpatients and 30 healthy controls, all of whom were assessed with a functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and electroencephalography (EEG) punchline-based metaphor comprehension task including literal (neutral), figurative (metaphorical) and nonsense (absurd) endings. The blood oxygenation level-dependent signal was recorded with 3T MRI scanner and direction and strength of cortical information flow in the time course of task processing was estimated with a 64-channel EEG input for directed transfer function. The presented results revealed that the behavioral manifestation of impaired figurative language in schizophrenia is related to the hypofunction in the bilateral fronto-temporo-parietal brain regions (fMRI) and various differences in effective connectivity in the fronto-temporo-parietal circuit (EEG). Schizophrenia outpatients showed an abnormal pattern of connectivity during metaphor processing which was related to bilateral (but more pronounced at the left hemisphere) hypoactivation of the brain. Moreover, we found reversed lateralization patterns, i.e. a rightward-shifted pattern during metaphor processing in schizophrenia compared to the control group. In conclusion, the presented findings revealed that the impairment of the conventional metaphor processing in schizophrenia is related to the bilateral brain hypofunction, which supports the evidence on reversed lateralization of the language neural network and the existence of compensatory recruitment of alternative neural circuits in schizophrenia.

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