Reaction time and finger tapping studies of schizophrenia and manic disorder
Various studies have provided data supporting the thesis that schizophrenic and manic patients have similar deficits during the acute phase of their illnesses, but that the manic patients' deficits are state in character and remit, while the schizophrenic patients have trait deficits which remain, as they improve clinically. The present study, utilizing reaction time and finger tapping as measures, was designed to investigate this trait-state thesis, as well as to contribute to the consensual validation of the actual characteristics and course of mania, and of its relationship to schizophrenia. Patients were assessed using the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia to determine a diagnosis using the Research Diagnostic Criteria. Data from reaction time (RT), reaction time with a time-sharing memory component (TS), and finger tapping (FT) performances of 20 schizophrenic and 20 manic patients were collected at test, near the time of admission, and at retest, two months later. Clinical improvement was assessed using the Global Assessment Scale (GAS). The RT and TS results indicate that the schizophrenic and manic patients have similar deficits during the acute phase of their illnesses, and that their deficits are not significantly different after two months, even though the manic patients' clinical improvement was found to be significantly greater than the schizophrenic patients'. No correlation was found, for either group, between the patients' GAS scores and their RT and TS performances. Neither did the FT results support the present study's trait-state thesis. Surprisingly, in the schizophrenic patients' FT results, the older patients, rather than the younger patients as is typical, improved most at retest. Factors which could have contributed to the negative findings are: (a) degree of patient motivation; (b) too short a time from test to retest; (c) time lag between clinical improvement and RT response, and (d) effects of medication.
Homan, Glenda Thieking, "Reaction time and finger tapping studies of schizophrenia and manic disorder" (1990). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9020012.