Visual and non-visual motion information processing during pursuit eye tracking in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder

Peter Trillenberg, Andreas Sprenger, Silke Talamo, Kirsten Herold, Christoph Helmchen, Rolf Verleger, Rebekka Lencer*

*Corresponding author for this work
6 Citations (Scopus)


Despite many reports on visual processing deficits in psychotic disorders, studies are needed on the integration of visual and non-visual components of eye movement control to improve the understanding of sensorimotor information processing in these disorders. Non-visual inputs to eye movement control include prediction of future target velocity from extrapolation of past visual target movement and anticipation of future target movements. It is unclear whether non-visual input is impaired in patients with schizophrenia. We recorded smooth pursuit eye movements in 21 patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorder, 22 patients with bipolar disorder, and 24 controls. In a foveo-fugal ramp task, the target was either continuously visible or was blanked during movement. We determined peak gain (measuring overall performance), initial eye acceleration (measuring visually driven pursuit), deceleration after target extinction (measuring prediction), eye velocity drifts before onset of target visibility (measuring anticipation), and residual gain during blanking intervals (measuring anticipation and prediction). In both patient groups, initial eye acceleration was decreased and the ability to adjust eye acceleration to increasing target acceleration was impaired. In contrast, neither deceleration nor eye drift velocity was reduced in patients, implying unimpaired non-visual contributions to pursuit drive. Disturbances of eye movement control in psychotic disorders appear to be a consequence of deficits in sensorimotor transformation rather than a pure failure in adding cognitive contributions to pursuit drive in higher-order cortical circuits. More generally, this deficit might reflect a fundamental imbalance between processing external input and acting according to internal preferences.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)225-235
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 01.04.2017

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)


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