Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

We used a virtual navigation paradigm in a city environment to assess neuroanatomical correlates of cognitive deficits in schizophrenia spectrum disorders (SSD). We studied a total of N = 36 subjects: 18 with SSD and 18 matched unaffected controls. Participants completed 10 rapid, single-trial navigation tasks within the virtual city while undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). All trials tested ability to find different targets seen earlier, during the passive viewing of a path around different city blocks. SSD patients had difficulty finding previously-encountered targets, were less likely to find novel shortcuts to targets, and more likely to attempt retracing of the path observed during passive viewing. Based on a priori region-of-interest analyses, SSD participants had hyperactivation of the left hippocampus when passively viewing turns, hyperactivation of the left caudate when finding targets, and hypoactivation of a focal area of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex when targets were initially shown during passive viewing. We propose that these brain-behaviour relations may bias or reinforce stimulus-response navigation approaches in SSD and underlie impaired performance when allocentric spatial memory is required, such as when forming efficient shortcuts. This pattern may extend to more general cognitive impairments in SSD that could be used to design remediation strategies.

Original publication




Journal article


Psychiatry Res Neuroimaging

Publication Date





Allocentric, Caudate, Cognition, Fast thinking, Hippocampus, Map, fMRI