What is perseverated in schizophrenia? Evidence of abnormal response plasticity in the saccadic system.

Research paper by Jason J S JJ Barton, Mariya V MV Cherkasova, Kristen A KA Lindgren, Donald C DC Goff, Dara S DS Manoach

Indexed on: 16 Feb '05Published on: 16 Feb '05Published in: Journal of abnormal psychology


Although perseveration is sometimes attributed to defective set switching, the authors have recently shown that set-switching is normal in schizophrenia. In this article, the authors tested for persistent states of the saccadic response system, rather than set perseveration. Schizophrenic and healthy subjects performed antisaccades and prosaccades. The authors analyzed for 3 carry-over effects. First, whereas the latency of the current saccade correlated with that of the prior saccade in both groups, the correlations under mixed-task conditions declined in healthy but not in schizophrenic subjects. Second, antisaccades in penultimate trials delayed upcoming saccades in schizophrenic but not in healthy subjects. Third, schizophrenic subjects were more likely to erroneously perseverate the direction of a prior antisaccade but not a prior prosaccade. The authors concluded that, in schizophrenia, the effects of correct antisaccades are persistent not weak. Saccades in schizophrenia are characterized by perseveration of antisaccade-induced changes in the saccadic response system rather than failures to switch task set.