Visuospatial working memory deficits and visual pursuit impairments are not directly related in schizophrenia

Cocchi, Luca, Bosisio, Francesca, Carter, Olivia, Wood, Stephen J., Berchtold, Andre, Conus, Philippe, Orita, Alina, Debbane, Martin and Schenk, Francoise (2009) Visuospatial working memory deficits and visual pursuit impairments are not directly related in schizophrenia. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 43 8: 766-774. doi:10.1080/00048670903001901


Author Cocchi, Luca
Bosisio, Francesca
Carter, Olivia
Wood, Stephen J.
Berchtold, Andre
Conus, Philippe
Orita, Alina
Debbane, Martin
Schenk, Francoise
Title Visuospatial working memory deficits and visual pursuit impairments are not directly related in schizophrenia
Journal name Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0004-8674
Publication date 2009
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1080/00048670903001901
Volume 43
Issue 8
Start page 766
End page 774
Total pages 9
Place of publication London, Engalnd, U.K.
Publisher Sage Publications
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Objective: Patients with schizophrenia show deficits in visuospatial working memory and visual pursuit processes. It is currently unclear, however, whether both impairments are related to a common neuropathological origin. The purpose of the present study was therefore to examine the possible relations between the encoding and the discrimination of dynamic visuospatial stimuli in schizophrenia. Method: Sixteen outpatients with schizophrenia and 16 control subjects were asked to encode complex disc displacements presented on a screen. After a delay, participants had to identify the previously presented disc trajectory from a choice of six static linear paths, among which were five incorrect paths. The precision of visual pursuit eye movements during the initial presentation of the dynamic stimulus was assessed. The fixations and scanning time in definite regions of the six paths presented during the discrimination phase were investigated. Results: In comparison with controls, patients showed poorer task performance, reduced pursuit accuracy during incorrect trials and less time scanning the correct stimulus or the incorrect paths approximating its global structure. Patients also spent less time scanning the leftmost portion of the correct path even when making a correct choice. The accuracy of visual pursuit and head movements, however, was not correlated with task performance. Conclusions: The present study provides direct support for the hypothesis that active integration of visuospatial information within working memory is deficient in schizophrenia. In contrast, a general impairment of oculomotor mechanisms involved in smooth pursuit did not appear to be directly related to lower visuospatial working memory performance in schizophrenia.
Keyword Encoding
Eye movements
Schizophrenia
Visual pursuit
Working memory
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Unknown

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Queensland Brain Institute Publications
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