Phillips W & Silverstein SM (2013) The coherent organization of mental life depends on mechanisms for context-sensitive gain-control that are impaired in schizophrenia. Frontiers in Psychology, 4, Art. No.: 307. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00307
There is rapidly growing evidence that schizophrenia involves changes in context-sensitive gain-control and probabilistic inference. In addition to the well-known cognitive disorganization to which these changes lead, basic aspects of vision are also impaired, as discussed by other papers on this Frontiers Research Topic. The aim of this paper is to contribute to our understanding of such findings by examining five central hypotheses. First, context-sensitive gain-control is fundamental to brain function and mental life. Second, it occurs in many different regions of the cerebral cortex of many different mammalian species. Third, it has several computational functions, each with wide generality. Fourth, it is implemented by several neural mechanisms at cellular and circuit levels. Fifth, impairments of context-sensitive gain-control produce many of the well-known symptoms of schizophrenia and change basic processes of visual perception. These hypotheses suggest why disorders of vision in schizophrenia may provide insights into the nature and mechanisms of impaired reality testing and thought disorder in psychosis. They may also cast light on normal mental function and its neural bases. Limitations of these hypotheses, and ways in which they need further testing and development, are outlined.
cognitive coordination; coherence; context-sensitivity; cortical computation; gain-control; perceptual grouping; schizophrenia; vision
Frontiers in Psychology: Volume 4