Apathy and the processing of novelty in schizophrenia

Robert M. Roth, Nancy S. Koven, Jo Cara Pendergrass, Laura A. Flashman, Thomas W. McAllister, Andrew J. Saykin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Apathy is a common negative symptom in schizophrenia that has been associated with poor medication compliance and treatment outcome. Recent studies in neurological patients have observed an association between apathy and reduced attention to novel stimuli. We evaluated whether patients with schizophrenia demonstrate a similar relationship. Participants included 20 patients with schizophrenia and 20 healthy comparison subjects matched for age, sex, handedness, and parental education. A self-paced visual novelty task was presented which assessed the duration that participants looked at frequent standard stimuli, infrequent target stimuli, and novel stimuli. Attention to novelty was defined as the duration of viewing novel relative to standard stimuli. Apathy was assessed with the Marin Apathy Evaluation Scale. Results revealed significantly greater self- and informant-reported apathy, slower reaction time to target stimuli, and longer viewing times to the stimuli, but not reduced attention to the novel stimuli, in the patient group. Although greater self-report of apathy was associated with longer viewing times for all stimuli in the patient group, this was accounted for by depressed mood. The present findings indicate that schizophrenia is associated with slowed information processing, but do not support the hypothesis that apathy in schizophrenia is associated with abnormal processing of novelty.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)232-238
Number of pages7
JournalSchizophrenia Research
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Jan 2008


  • Apathy
  • Attention
  • Novelty
  • Schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Neurology
  • Psychology(all)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Apathy and the processing of novelty in schizophrenia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this