Presentation_1_Cortical Gray Matter Loss, Augmented Vulnerability to Speech-on-Speech Masking, and Delusion in People With Schizophrenia.pdf

People with schizophrenia exhibit impairments in target-speech recognition (TSR) against multiple-talker-induced informational speech masking. Up to date, the underlying neural mechanisms and its relationships with psychotic symptoms remain largely unknown. This study aimed to investigate whether the schizophrenia-associated TSR impairment contribute to certain psychotic symptoms by sharing underlying alternations in cortical gray-matter volume (GMV) with the psychotic symptoms. Participants with schizophrenia (N = 34) and their matched healthy controls (N = 29) were tested for TSR against a two-talker-speech masker. Psychotic symptoms of participants with schizophrenia were evaluated using the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale. The regional GMV across various cortical regions was assessed using the voxel-based morphometry. The results of partial-correlation and mediation analyses showed that in participants with schizophrenia, the TSR was negatively correlated with the delusion severity, but positively with the GMV in the bilateral superior/middle temporal cortex, bilateral insular, left medial orbital frontal gyrus, left Rolandic operculum, left mid-cingulate cortex, left posterior fusiform, and left cerebellum. Moreover, the association between GMV and delusion was based on the mediating role played by the TSR performance. Thus, in people with schizophrenia, both delusions and the augmented vulnerability of TSR to informational masking are associated with each other and share the underlying cortical GMV reduction, suggesting that the origin of delusion in schizophrenia may be related to disorganized or limited informational processing (e.g., the incapability of adequately filtering information from multiple sources at the perceptual level). The TSR impairment can be a potential marker for predicting delusion severity.