Levels-of-Processing Effects in First-Degree Relatives of Individuals with Schizophrenia

Aaron Bonner-Jackson*, John G. Csernansky, Deanna M. Barch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Background: First-degree relatives of individuals with schizophrenia show cognitive impairments that are similar to but less severe than their ill relatives. We have shown that memory impairments can be improved and prefrontal cortical (PFC) activity increased in individuals with schizophrenia by providing beneficial encoding strategies. The current study used a similar paradigm to determine whether siblings of individuals with schizophrenia (SIBs) also show increases in brain activity when presented with beneficial encoding strategies. Methods: Twenty-one SIBs and 38 siblings of healthy comparison subjects underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging scans while engaged in deep (abstract/concrete judgments) and shallow (orthographic judgments) encoding. Subjects were then given a recognition memory test. Results: The groups did not differ on encoding or recognition accuracy, and the SIBs benefited from deep encoding to a similar degree as control subjects. The SIBs showed deep encoding-related activity in a number of PFC regions typically activated during semantic processing. However, SIBs showed more activity than control subjects in three subregions of PFC (left BA 44 & BA 47 bilaterally). Conclusions: Siblings of individuals with schizophrenia benefit from supportive verbal encoding conditions. Like individuals with schizophrenia, SIBs also show increased task-related activity in a larger number of PFC subregions than control subjects during deep verbal encoding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1141-1147
Number of pages7
JournalBiological psychiatry
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 15 2007


  • Encoding
  • episodic memory
  • relatives
  • schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry


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