Impaired Suppression of Delay-Period Alpha and Beta Is Associated With Impaired Working Memory in Schizophrenia

Molly A. Erickson, Matthew A. Albrecht, Benjamin Robinson, Steven J. Luck, James M. Gold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Background Although patients with schizophrenia (PSZ) frequently exhibit reduced working memory capacity relative to healthy control subjects (HCS), the mechanisms that underlie this impairment are unknown. The present study aimed to assess one putative mechanism: impaired suppression of alpha and beta frequency bands during the delay period of a visual working memory task. Methods An electroencephalogram was recorded from 30 PSZ and 31 HCS while they completed a change detection task in which they were required to remember a briefly presented array of colored squares over an 1800-ms delay interval. Results PSZ had significantly reduced alpha- and beta-band suppression during the delay interval compared with HCS, and these significant differences emerged early (100–200 ms after onset of the memory array). Furthermore, the magnitude of suppression was significantly associated with task performance across both groups. Finally, the magnitude of suppression in alpha and beta frequency bands was significantly associated with a range of cognitive measures among HCS, but not PSZ. Conclusions These results implicate impaired alpha/beta suppression during the consolidation period of working memory tasks as a promising neural mechanism that constrains capacity in PSZ.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)272-279
Number of pages8
JournalBiological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Biological Psychiatry


  • Alpha suppression
  • Beta suppression
  • EEG
  • Schizophrenia
  • Visual
  • Working memory


Dive into the research topics of 'Impaired Suppression of Delay-Period Alpha and Beta Is Associated With Impaired Working Memory in Schizophrenia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this