Eye movements in acute, chronic, and remitted schizophrenics

Biol Psychiatry. 1990 May 1;27(9):975-89. doi: 10.1016/0006-3223(90)90035-z.


Eye movements in 10 acute schizophrenics, 50 chronic schizophrenics, 20 remitted schizophrenics, 25 methamphetamine psychotics, 21 temporal lobe epileptics with left-sided spike focus (l-focus), 12 temporal lobe epileptics with right-sided spike focus (r-focus), and 50 normal controls were examined with an eye mark recorder while they viewed geometric figures. The eye movements while viewing an original "S"-shaped figure for 15 sec were analyzed. Each schizophrenic group and methamphetamine psychotics had significantly less eye fixations than the normal controls and temporal lobe epileptics (r-focus and l-focus). The chronic schizophrenics had significantly shorter mean eye scanning length (MESL) than the other six groups. Each subject was then shown two other figures slightly different from the original and was requested to compare them with the original. After comparing them, the subjects were asked the question, "Are there any other differences?" The 5-sec eye movements during the response to this question were scored using the Responsive Search Score (RSS). The schizophrenic groups had a significantly lower RSS than the nonschizophrenic patient groups and the normal controls. In the chronic schizophrenics, there was a significant negative correlation between the RSS and negative symptoms. These results suggest that the MESL can be an indicator of a chronic process of schizophrenia, and that lowering of the RSS may be a nosologically specific indicator for schizophrenia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Attention
  • Chronic Disease
  • Discrimination Learning
  • Dominance, Cerebral
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / psychology
  • Eye Movements*
  • Female
  • Fixation, Ocular
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Recall
  • Methamphetamine / adverse effects
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Psychomotor Performance
  • Psychoses, Substance-Induced / psychology
  • Pursuit, Smooth
  • Reaction Time
  • Schizophrenia / diagnosis*
  • Schizophrenic Psychology*


  • Methamphetamine