Corollary Discharge Failure in an Oculomotor Task Is Related to Delusional Ideation in Healthy Individuals

PLoS One. 2015 Aug 25;10(8):e0134483. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0134483. eCollection 2015.


Predicting the sensory consequences of saccadic eye movements likely plays a crucial role in planning sequences of saccades and in maintaining visual stability despite saccade-caused retinal displacements. Deficits in predictive activity, such as that afforded by a corollary discharge signal, have been reported in patients with schizophrenia, and may lead to the emergence of positive symptoms, in particular delusions of control and auditory hallucinations. We examined whether a measure of delusional thinking in the general, non-clinical population correlated with measures of predictive activity in two oculomotor tasks. The double-step task measured predictive activity in motor control, and the in-flight displacement task measured predictive activity in trans-saccadic visual perception. Forty-one healthy adults performed both tasks and completed a questionnaire to assess delusional thinking. The quantitative measure of predictive activity we obtained correlated with the tendency towards delusional ideation, but only for the motor task, and not the perceptual task: Individuals with higher levels of delusional thinking showed less self-movement information use in the motor task. Variation of the degree of self-generated movement knowledge as a function of the prevalence of delusional ideation in the normal population strongly supports the idea that corollary discharge deficits measured in schizophrenic patients in previous researches are not due to neuroleptic medication. We also propose that this difference in results between the perceptual and the motor tasks may point to a dissociation between corollary discharge for perception and corollary discharge for action.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Delusions / physiopathology*
  • Eye Movements / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Saccades / physiology
  • Task Performance and Analysis*
  • Thinking*
  • Visual Perception / physiology

Grant support

This work was supported by an ANR grant to TC (ANR Jeunes Chercheurs – EPA).