Psychosis subgroups differ in intrinsic neural activity but not task-specific processing

Matthew E. Hudgens-Haney, Lauren E. Ethridge, Jennifer E. McDowell, Sarah K. Keedy, Godfrey D. Pearlson, Carol A. Tamminga, Matcheri S. Keshavan, John A. Sweeney, Brett A. Clementz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Individuals with psychosis often show high levels of intrinsic, or nonspecific, neural activity, but attenuated stimulus-specific activity. Clementz et al. (2016) proposed that one subgroup of psychosis cases has accentuated intrinsic activity (Biotype-2's) and a different subgroup (Biotype-1's) has diminished intrinsic activity, with both groups exhibiting varying degrees of cognitive deficits. This model was studied by assessing neural activity in psychosis probands (N = 105) during baseline and a 5 second period in preparation for a pro-/anti-saccade task. Steady-state stimuli allowed real-time assessment of modulation of visuocortical investment to different target locations. Psychosis probands as a whole showed poor antisaccade performance. As expected, Biotype-1 showed diminished intrinsic neural activity and the worst behavior, and Biotype-2 showed accentuated intrinsic activity and less deviant behavior. Both of these groups also exhibited less dynamic oscillatory phase synchrony. Biotype-3 showed no neurophysiological differences from healthy individuals, despite a history of psychosis. Interestingly, all psychosis subgroups showed normal (i.e., not different from healthy) preparatory modulation of visuocortical investment as a function of cognitive demands, despite varying levels of task performance. Similar analyses conducted subgrouping cases by psychotic symptomatology revealed fewer and less consistent differences, including no intrinsic activity differences between any clinical subgroup and healthy individuals. This study illustrates that (i) differences in intrinsic neural activity may be a fundamental characteristic of psychosis and need to be evaluated separately from stimulus-specific responses, and (ii) grouping patients based on multidimensional classification using neurobiological data may have advantages for resolving heterogeneity and clarifying illness mechanisms relative to traditional psychiatric diagnoses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)222-230
Number of pages9
JournalSchizophrenia Research
StatePublished - May 2018


  • Biomarkers
  • Bipolar disorder
  • EEG
  • Psychosis
  • Schizophrenia
  • Steady-state

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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