Memory blocking in schizophrenia reflects deficient retrieval control mechanisms.
Retrieval interference and orthographic processing were evaluated in schizophrenia, schizotypal personality disorder, and non-psychiatric control participants using a word fragment completion paradigm. Participants studied solutions and later completed corresponding fragments preceded by solutions, orthographically similar blocking words, or ampersands. Although schizophrenia patients completed fewest fragments, they showed equivalent repetition priming and blocking magnitude, supporting intact orthographic processing. Schizophrenia patients were more likely to commit intrusions in the blocking condition, whereas control participants displayed better mental control because they were more likely to withhold the response. These results suggest schizophrenia patients show abnormal functioning of control mechanisms responsible for selection and inhibition of competitors. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.