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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter October 12, 2011

A virtual environment for egocentric and allocentric mental transformations: a study on a nonclinical population of adults with distinct levels of schizotypy

Martin Steinisch EMAIL logo , Valentina Sulpizio , Angelo Andrea Iorio , Alessandra Di Naccio , Jens Haueisen , Giorgia Committeri and Silvia Comani
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We benefited from the flexibility provided by virtual reality to enhance a classical paradigm on array and self mental rotations and related questions on a set of items. We used this paradigm to investigate how the Level of Schizotypy in nonclinical subjects might influence their behavior in egocentric and allocentric mental transformations. Three elements of novelty were introduced: (i) we separated the phases of mental transformation (Imagined Rotation Phase) and task performance (Task Phase), (ii) we measured the time required for Imagined Rotation Phase and Task Phase separately, and (iii) we cued self-rotations with a virtual human being (self-avatar) or an inanimate object (self-chair). Twenty-four nonclinical participants were categorized in low- and high-schizotypal subjects (Low-S, High-S). A mixed-design analysis of variance showed that High-S were significantly faster than Low-S during the Imagined Rotation Phase (array and self-chair rotations) and during the Task Phase (self-chair). High-S were also faster in the self-chair than in the self-avatar rotation, supporting the existence of a dissociation between perspective changing and perspective taking in High-S. In line with the literature, we found that participant performances decreased with increasing angular difference between the initial and the imagined perspective.

Corresponding author: Martin Steinisch, BIND – Behavioral Imaging and Neural Dynamics Center, University “G. d'Annunzio”, Via dei Vestini 33, 66100 Chieti, Italy Phone: +39-0871-3556901 Fax: +39-0871-3556930

Received: 2011-2-3
Accepted: 2011-7-26
Published Online: 2011-10-12
Published in Print: 2011-10-01

©2011 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston

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