Time perception networks and cognition in schizophrenia: a review and a proposal
Timing is an essential function for the survival of many living organisms. Despite its significance, it is relatively under-researched, particularly in schizophrenia. We examined neurophysiological, neuropathological, imaging and genetic studies of both healthy subjects and subjects suffering from schizophrenia in relation to time perception as measured by interval timing. We found that the data from studies in healthy populations indicate that time perception may be inter-linked with numerous other cognitive functions and share common brain networks. The same networks are implicated in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. There is also evidence that several neurotransmitter systems, particularly the dopaminergic D2 system, are involved in interval timing. Patients with schizophrenia have been shown to suffer from a distorted sense of time, which has an impact on their cognitive function and results in both positive and negative symptoms. Therefore, genes involved in interval timing can be considered candidate genes for distorted cognition in schizophrenia. We discuss the hypothesis that time perception dysfunction is a primary cognitive dysfunction in schizophrenia.