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Single trial analysis of event related potentials: A comparison between schizophrenics and depressives

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      The aim of the present paper was to perform a single-trial analysis of event-related potentials in order to elucidate the mechanisms behind a reduced P300 amplitude occurring in unmedicated depressives (n = 11) and schizophrenics (n = 18). For this purpose, tools from linear system theory were applied to single trials in an oddball paradigm. This analysis provides estimates of the magnitude of the positive deflection occurring around the latency of P300, following target and nontarget simuli. According to the density functions of these amplitude distributions, we operationally defined “false-negative” (P300 amplitude lower than an individual threshold under target conditions) as well as “false-positive” responses (P300 amplitude higher than the threshold following nontarget stimuli). Our investigations revealed a reduction of the single-trial P300 amplitude in depression and a combination of amplitude reduction along with fewer elicited single-trial P300 waves in schizophrenics.

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