The Self and Its Prolonged Intrinsic Neural Timescale in Schizophrenia

Georg Northoff, Karl Erik Sandsten, Julie Nordgaard, Troels Wesenberg Kjaer, Josef Parnas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


Schizophrenia (SCZ) can be characterized as a basic self-disorder that is featured by abnormal temporal integration on phenomenological (experience) and psychological (information processing) levels. Temporal integration on the neuronal level can be measured by the brain's intrinsic neural timescale using the autocorrelation window (ACW) and power-law exponent (PLE). Our goal was to relate intrinsic neural timescales (ACW, PLE), as a proxy of temporal integration on the neuronal level, to temporal integration related to self-disorder on psychological (Enfacement illusion task in electroencephalography) and phenomenological (Examination of Anomalous Self-Experience [EASE]) levels. SCZ participants exhibited prolonged ACW and higher PLE during the self-referential task (Enfacement illusion), but not during the non-self-referential task (auditory oddball). The degree of ACW/PLE change during task relative to rest was significantly reduced in self-referential task in SCZ. A moderation model showed that low and high ACW/PLE exerted differential impact on the relationship of self-disorder (EASE) and negative symptoms (PANSS). In sum, we demonstrate abnormal prolongation in intrinsic neural timescale during self-reference in SCZ including its relation to basic self-disorder and negative symptoms. Our results point to abnormal relation of self and temporal integration at the core of SCZ constituting a "common currency" of neuronal, psychological, and phenomenological levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)170-179
Number of pages10
JournalSchizophrenia bulletin
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 23 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • auto-correlation window
  • EASE
  • EEG
  • enfacement illusion
  • intrinsic neural timescale
  • power law exponent
  • rest-task modulation
  • self-disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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