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Lauren N Bandel, Marian E Berryhill, Michael D Dodd; Examining the relationship between eye movement kinematics and schizotypy in the normal population. Journal of Vision 2019;19(10):126b. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/19.10.126b.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Individuals continually make eye movements when performing tasks to extract meaningful information from objects and regions of interest. Compared to neurotypical individuals, those with schizophrenia spectrum disorders (SSD) exhibit impairments in oculomotor function, including impairments in smooth pursuit, motion-processing, and attention-based tasks. These deficits indicate that individuals with SSD may be unable to extract visual information in a neurotypical manner, potentially contributing to the cognitive deficits often associated with SSD. Schizotypy represents a broad range of characteristics associated with SSD that occur in the general population, with schizotypy occurring at a higher frequency than clinically significant schizophrenia. In the present study, we sought to examine whether there are differences in oculomotor kinematics and visual scanning behavior between those low and high in schizotypy. To the degree that schizotypy influences eye movement behavior, oculomotor function could be a useful additional diagnostic mechanism for related disorders. In the present study, participants viewed scenes while performing one of three tasks (visual search, memorization, pleasantness rating) while their eye movements were monitored. Following the visual tasks, participants completed the Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire-Brief Revised Updated (SPQ-BRU). Trial analyses confirm differences in saccade amplitude and fixation duration for those low vs. high in schizotypy but the effects are moderated by task type (saccade amplitudes impacted during search/rating, fixation durations impacted during memory). Schizotypy also influenced scanning time within regions of interest, such that those high in schizotypy processed each region for considerably less time during initial processing. Collectively these results indicate differences in oculomotor behavior as a function of schizotypy in basic visual tasks with additional pilot data seeking to characterize whether scanning behavior can be subsequently improved in this population via gaze-contingent manipulations.
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