Smooth pursuit in schizophrenia: a meta-analytic review of research since 1993

Brain Cogn. 2008 Dec;68(3):359-70. doi: 10.1016/j.bandc.2008.08.023. Epub 2008 Oct 9.


Abnormal smooth pursuit eye-tracking is one of the most replicated deficits in the psychophysiological literature in schizophrenia [Levy, D. L., Holzman, P. S., Matthysse, S., & Mendell, N. R. (1993). Eye tracking dysfunction and schizophrenia: A critical perspective. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 19, 461-505]. We used meta-analytic procedures to quantify patient-control differences in eye-tracking and to evaluate potential moderators of effect size including patient and target characteristics and characteristics of the control population (matched or not). The magnitude of patient-control differences in pursuit depended on the measure. Global measures had large effect sizes. Among specific measures, maintenance gain and leading saccades yielded large effect sizes, with gain also yielding the narrowest confidence interval. Effect sizes associated with specific measures of smooth pursuit vs. specific measures of intrusive saccades did not clearly implicate one system over the other. Patient demographics and target characteristics generally had little influence on effect sizes. However, studies that failed to sex-match patients and controls tended to have smaller effect sizes for maintenance gain and catch-up saccade rate. Average effect sizes and confidence limits for global measures of pursuit and for maintenance gain place these measures alongside the very strongest neurocognitive measures in the literature [Heinrichs, R. W. (2004). Meta-analysis, and the science of schizophrenia: Variant evidence or evidence of variants? Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 28, 379-394] for distinguishing between patients with schizophrenia and controls.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales / standards
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales / statistics & numerical data
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Pursuit, Smooth / physiology*
  • Research / statistics & numerical data
  • Research Design*
  • Review Literature as Topic
  • Saccades / physiology
  • Schizophrenia / physiopathology*
  • Visual Fields / physiology