Motor behavior reflects reduced hemispheric asymmetry in the psychosis risk period

Derek J. Dean*, Joseph M. Orr, Raeana E. Newberry, Vijay A. Mittal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Background: A body of work focusing on brain connectivity, language dominance, and motor laterality research suggests that reduced hemispheric asymmetry is a core feature in schizophrenia. However, there is little consensus about whether reduced dominance is present in those at ultrahigh risk (UHR) for psychosis. Methods: A total of 94 demonstrated right-handed neuroleptic free participants (38 UHR and 56 matched healthy controls) were assessed with structured clinical interviews and completed an innovative handwriting task using a digital tablet computer. A laterality quotient (LQ) was calculated using kinematic variables from the participant's left and right hands. A subset of the sample (26 UHR and 29 controls) returned after 12-months to complete clinical interviews in order to examine relationships between handwriting laterality and progression of psychosis risk symptoms. Results: The UHR group showed decreased dextrality compared to healthy controls. At the 12-month follow-up, decreased dextrality accounted for 8% of the variance in worsened positive symptoms within the UHR group. Conclusion: The current results suggest that disrupted cerebral dominance is also present in the ultrahigh risk period and that decreased dextrality may serve as a novel biomarker for the progression of psychosis risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-142
Number of pages6
JournalSchizophrenia Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • Cerebral dominance
  • Dextrality
  • Handwriting
  • Laterality
  • Psychosis
  • Ultrahigh risk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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