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In Scientific reports ; h5-index 158.0

Schizophrenia affects various aspects of cognitive and behavioural functioning. Eye movement abnormalities are commonly observed in patients with schizophrenia (SZs). Here we examined whether such abnormalities reflect an anomaly in inhibition of return (IOR), the mechanism that inhibits orienting to previously fixated or attended locations. We analyzed spatiotemporal patterns of eye movement during free-viewing of visual images including natural scenes, geometrical patterns, and pseudorandom noise in SZs and healthy control participants (HCs). SZs made saccades to previously fixated locations more frequently than HCs. The time lapse from the preceding saccade was longer for return saccades than for forward saccades in both SZs and HCs, but the difference was smaller in SZs. SZs explored a smaller area than HCs. Generalized linear mixed-effect model analysis indicated that the frequent return saccades served to confine SZs' visual exploration to localized regions. The higher probability of return saccades in SZs was related to cognitive decline after disease onset but not to the dose of prescribed antipsychotics. We conclude that SZs exhibited attenuated IOR under free-viewing conditions, which led to restricted scene scanning. IOR attenuation will be a useful clue for detecting impairment in attention/orienting control and accompanying cognitive decline in schizophrenia.

Okada Ken-Ichi, Miura Kenichiro, Fujimoto Michiko, Morita Kentaro, Yoshida Masatoshi, Yamamori Hidenaga, Yasuda Yuka, Iwase Masao, Inagaki Mikio, Shinozaki Takashi, Fujita Ichiro, Hashimoto Ryota