Postural Control and Verbal and Visual Working Memory Correlates in Nonclinical Psychosis

Ivanka Ristanovic, K. Juston Osborne, Teresa Vargas, Tina Gupta, Vijay A. Mittal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Introduction: Motor and cognitive abnormalities are well documented in psychosis spectrum disorders. Evidence suggests these deficits could be pronounced because of disruptions in the cerebellar-thalamic-cortical-cerebellar (CTCC) circuit, a network thought to be heavily implicated in motor and higher cognitive functioning. Although significant research has been done on this topic in individuals with schizophrenia and those at a clinical high risk for psychosis, much less is known about deficits at the lower end of the spectrum. Methods: In this study, we extended the understanding of motor abnormalities across the psychosis continuum by examining postural sway deficits in the nonclinical psychosis (NCP) population. Furthermore, we linked these deficits to verbal and visual working memory. High-NCP (n = 37) and low-NCP control (n = 31) participants completed an instrumental balance task, highly sensitive to subtle variations in postural sway, along with a brief working memory battery. Results: We found that high-NCP participants presented with increased postural sway area (i.e., worse postural control) relative to low-NCP controls on a difficult condition (with limited proprioceptive cues), but not on an easier condition. Furthermore, results indicated that the sway area was correlated with poorer performance on working memory tasks in the high-NCP group. Conclusion: These findings suggest that CTCC circuit abnormalities are present across the lower end of the psychosis spectrum and that they may be contributing to a range of motor and cognitive behaviors seen in the population. However, evidence suggests that the signs are subtle, and that sensitive assessment devices and challenging conditions may be necessary for detection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)293-300
Number of pages8
Issue number4-5
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020


  • Cerebellarthalamic-cortical-cerebellar circuit
  • Nonclinical psychosis
  • Postural control
  • Working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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