Exploratory eye movements in schizophrenic patients and patients with frontal lobe lesions

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Summary

Exploratory eye movements in 20 schizophrenics, 18 patients with frontal lobe lesions (9 right-sided and 9 left-sided) and 20 normal controls were examined with an eye mark recorder while they viewed stationary S-shaped figures. The eye movements made during the subject's first 15-s viewing of an original figure were analyzed. Patients with right frontal lobe lesions (RF) and schizophrenics (S) had lower scores than normal controls (NC) for the number of eye fixations, total eye scanning length and mean eye scanning length. Each subject was then shown two other figures slightly different from the original and was requested to compare them with the original. After comparing them, the subject wastasked the question, “Are there any other differences?” The eye movements made over the ensuing 5 s in response to this question were scored using the responsive search score (RSS). The RSS was low only in the S group. The subject was also asked to reproduce the original figure before and after making comparisons between the figures. The RF and S groups were poorer at reproduction than the NC group. These findings suggest that there is disordered function of the right frontal lobe in sehizophrenia, and that schizophrenia is due not only to localized damage to one part of the brain but to more widespread damage.