This study investigates category learning in schizophrenia in order to evaluate abstraction abilities at the perceptual level. The participants learned about two categories of geometric shapes. The category exemplars were presented successively. In the case of schizophrenic patients, longer exposure time and more stimulus presentations were used to counterbalance attention impairments. In spite of this, the perceptual category learning was significantly impaired in the patient group. In contrast, when the training procedure involved verbal category definition and not perceptual learning, the performance of schizophrenics was similar to that of the healthy controls. These findings suggest that the perceptual learning of categories, but not free classification judgements are impaired in schizophrenia, and that this impairment is not due to pure attentional disturbances.
- Category learning
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