Schizophrenia spectrum disorders show reduced specificity and less positive events in mental time travel

X.-j. Chen, L.-L. Liu, J.-F. Cui, Y. Wang, A.-T. Chen, F.-h. Li, W.-h. Wang, H.-F. Zheng, M.-Y. Gan, C.-Q. Li, Ho Keung David Shum, R.C.K. Chan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


© 2016 Chen, Liu, Cui, Wang, Chen, Li, Wang, Zheng, Gan, Li, Shum and Chan.Mental time travel refers to the ability to recall past events and to imagine possible future events. Schizophrenia (SCZ) patients have problems in remembering specific personal experiences in the past and imagining what will happen in the future. This study aimed to examine episodic past and future thinking in SCZ spectrum disorders including SCZ patients and individuals with schizotypal personality disorder (SPD) proneness who are at risk for developing SCZ. Thirty-two SCZ patients, 30 SPD proneness individuals, and 33 healthy controls participated in the study. The Sentence Completion for Events from the Past Test (SCEPT) and the Sentence Completion for Events in the Future Test were used to measure past and future thinking abilities. Results showed that SCZ patients showed significantly reduced specificity in recalling past and imagining future events, they generated less proportion of specific and extended events compared to healthy controls. SPD proneness individuals only generated less extended events compared to healthy controls. The reduced specificity was mainly manifested in imagining future events. Both SCZ patients and SPD proneness individuals generated less positive events than controls. These results suggest that mental time travel impairments in SCZ spectrum disorders and have implications for understanding their cognitive and emotional deficits.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1121
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Issue numberJUL
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jul 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Episodic future thinking
  • Mental time travel
  • Past
  • Schizophrenia
  • Schizophrenia spectrum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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