We tested for a relationship between attention and genetic liability to schizophrenia. Samples of probands with DSM-IV schizophrenia (n = 20), their well first-degree relatives (n = 40) and healthy controls (n = 82) were tested using measures of sustained attention (degraded-stimulus continuous performance test: DS-CPT) and selective attention (spatial negative priming task). Assuming a liability-threshold model, we predicted that probands would display greater attentional decrements than controls and that the relatives would show intermediate levels of decrement. We did not observe the predicted pattern of effect using either measure, although the probands showed a trend towards less negative priming. However, our results may have been affected by self-selection bias in probands and relatives and clinical heterogeneity among probands, which could have reduced our power to detect effects. © 2001 Elsevier Science B.V.
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