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Biol Psychiatry. 1991 Oct 15;30(8):779-94.

Maladaptive anticipatory saccades in schizophrenia.

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  • 1Geriatrics Research Education and Clinical Center, Seattle VA Medical Center, WA 98108.


We compared the saccades made by 8 neuroleptic-treated and 7 drug-free schizophrenic inpatients with those made by 11 normal controls during two eye movement tasks. The first task was designed to elicit visually guided but not internally guided saccades. The second task was designed so that optimal performance required saccades be guided on the basis of an internal representation of target behavior. During the first task, schizophrenics made visually guided saccades that were as accurate as those made by control, but both drug-free and neuroleptic-treated schizophrenics made intrusive saccades at a significantly higher rate than control subjects. Most of these maladaptive saccades appeared to be premature attempts to anticipate target jump. During the second eye movement task, which for optimal performance required use of an internal representation to guide eye movements, most patients learned to anticipate target jump as well as controls. However, neuroleptic-treated patients made significantly smaller adaptive anticipatory saccades than either drug-free schizophrenic patients or normal subjects. These finding are discussed as they relate to the prefrontal cortex-basal ganglia circuits involved in the regulation of behavior by representational knowledge and the idea that the abnormal anticipatory saccades we observed represent a failure in the sensorimotor gating of information derived from internal representations.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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