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Abnormal salience signaling in schizophrenia: The role of integrative beta oscillations: Salience Signaling in Schizophrenia


Darren Price

Lena Palaniyappan


Emma L. Hall

Peter G. Morris

Peter F. Liddle


Aberrant salience attribution and cerebral dysconnectivity both have strong evidential support as core dysfunctions in schizophrenia. Aberrant salience arising from an excess of dopamine activity has been implicated in delusions and hallucinations, exaggerating the significance of everyday occurrences and thus leading to perceptual distortions and delusional causal inferences. Meanwhile, abnormalities in key nodes of a salience brain network have been implicated in other characteristic symptoms, including the disorganization and impoverishment of mental activity. A substantial body of literature reports disruption to brain network connectivity in schizophrenia. Electrical oscillations likely play a key role in the coordination of brain activity at spatially remote sites, and recent, evidence implicates beta band oscillations in long-range integrative processes. We used magnetoencephalography (MEG) and a task designed to disambiguate responses to relevant from irrelevant stimuli to investigated beta oscillations in nodes of a network implicated in salience detection and previously shown to be structurally and functionally abnormal in schizophrenia. Healthy participants, as expected, produced an enhanced beta synchronisation to behaviourally relevant, as compared to irrelevant, stimuli, while patients with schizophrenia showed the reverse pattern: a greater beta synchronisation in response to irrelevant than to relevant stimuli. These findings not only support both the aberrant salience and disconnectivity hypotheses, but indicate a common mechanism that allows us to integrate them into a single framework for understanding schizophrenia in terms of disrupted recruitment of contextually appropriate brain networks.


Liddle, E. B., Price, D., Palaniyappan, L., Brookes, M. J., Robson, S. E., Hall, E. L., …Liddle, P. F. (2016). Abnormal salience signaling in schizophrenia: The role of integrative beta oscillations: Salience Signaling in Schizophrenia. Human Brain Mapping, 37(4), 1361-1374.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 19, 2015
Online Publication Date Feb 8, 2016
Publication Date 2016-04
Deposit Date Mar 24, 2016
Publicly Available Date Mar 24, 2016
Journal Human Brain Mapping
Print ISSN 1065-9471
Electronic ISSN 1097-0193
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 37
Issue 4
Pages 1361-1374
Keywords Schizophrenia ; magnetoencephalography ; neuroimaging ; electrophysiology ; attention
Public URL
Publisher URL


Liddle_et_al-2016-Human_Brain_Mapping.pdf (587 Kb)

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