Phenothiazine Effects on Auditory Signal Detection in Paranoid and Nonparanoid Schizophrenics

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Science  12 Nov 1971:
Vol. 174, Issue 4010, pp. 723-725
DOI: 10.1126/science.174.4010.723


The differential effects of phenothiazine medication on auditory signal detection performance were compared in two types of schizophrenic subjects and in normal subjects. With increasing phenothiazine dosage a decrease in efficiency of signal detection performance occurred among nonparanoid schizophrenics and an increase in efficiency occurred among paranoid schizophrenics. These and related findings were interpreted in terms of differences in neuropsychological response and information processing characteristics in the two types of schizophrenics. The primary deficit in information processing in nonparanoid schizophrenics may be related primarily to their hypersensitivity to sensory stimuli, whereas in paranoids it may be related primarily to their impaired focusing of attention. Phenothiazines appear to decrease sensitivity to stimuli in nonparanoids but increase the ability to focus attention in paranoids. The possibility of treatment regimens which take into account the differential effects of phenothiazine medication was suggested.