Background. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that low smooth pursuit gain in schizophrenia is related to an abnormality in motion perception.
Methods. The subjects were 19 schizophrenics treated with clozapine and 19 controls. In addition to smooth pursuit and motion perception paradigms, sustained attention was also assessed using a continuous performance task (CPT).
Results. In the patient group, there was a statistically significant negative correlation between smooth pursuit gain and motion perception threshold (r =−0·60, P<0·01). This relationship was not secondary to attention deficits as assessed by the CPT.
Conclusions. Our results are consistent with the notion that the smooth pursuit gain deficit is related to a deficit in motion perception rather than in attention. Brain area V5 (also referred to as ‘MT’ in macaque), located in the parieto-occipital region, is known to be critically important both for motion perception and gain. Thus, our results point to an abnormality in this area in schizophrenia.
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