Exploratory eye movements during the Benton Visual Retention Test: characteristics of visual behavior in schizophrenia

Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2003 Aug;57(4):409-15. doi: 10.1046/j.1440-1819.2003.01140.x.


In order to investigate the relationship between the behavioral patterns and clinical symptomatology in schizophrenia, exploratory eye movements of schizophrenic subjects and healthy controls during the Benton Visual Retention Test were examined using an eye-mark recorder. The results were as follows: (i) with card 1, the number of eye fixations of schizophrenic subjects was fewer, and the total and mean eye scanning lengths of schizophrenic subjects were shorter than those of healthy controls; (ii) with card 3, almost none of the schizophrenic subjects looked at the blank area opposite the peripheral figure on the right; (iii) with cards 3, 5, 6 and 9 there were some schizophrenic subjects who did not look at the peripheral figures; (iv) with card 6, many of the schizophrenic subjects made stereotypical movements; (v) with card 9, schizophrenic subjects used a narrow vertical gaze to look at the large figure on the right. Based on these characteristics among the schizophrenic subjects themselves, factors such as longer eye scanning length, looking at peripheral figures without fail, and not making stereotypical movements were reflected directly in the results of the Benton test, while there was no relationship between the width of the vertical gaze and the Benton results. Correlations between visual behavior and some psychiatric symptoms were observed. The visual behavioral patterns of schizophrenic subjects were various according to the characteristics of the Benton figures, while those of normal subjects were always almost the same. It was suggested that these results were caused by disturbances of the mental attitude of schizophrenic subjects toward objects or environments.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Exploratory Behavior / physiology*
  • Eye Movements / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intelligence Tests
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology
  • Neuropsychological Tests*
  • Schizophrenic Psychology*
  • Visual Perception / physiology*