Visual motion processing and its use for pursuit eye movement control represent a valuable model for studying the use of sensory input for action planning. In psychotic disorders, alterations of visual motion perception have been suggested to cause pursuit eye tracking deficits. We evaluated this system in functional neuroimaging studies of untreated first-episode schizophrenia (N= 24), psychotic bipolar disorder patients (N= 13) and healthy controls (N= 20). During a passive visual motion processing task, both patient groups showed reduced activation in the posterior parietal projection fields of motion-sensitive extrastriate area V5, but not in V5 itself. This suggests reduced bottom-up transfer of visual motion information from extrastriate cortex to perceptual systems in parietal association cortex. During active pursuit, activation was enhanced in anterior intraparietal sulcus and insula in both patient groups, and in dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and dorsomedial thalamus in schizophrenia patients. This may result from increased demands on sensorimotor systems for pursuit control due to the limited availability of perceptual motion information about target speed and tracking error. Visual motion information transfer deficits to higher-level association cortex may contribute to well-established pursuit tracking abnormalities, and perhaps to a wider array of alterations in perception and action planning in psychotic disorders.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)