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Visual scan paths are abnormal in deluded schizophrenics

Phillips, Mary L and David, A. S. 1997. Visual scan paths are abnormal in deluded schizophrenics. Neuropsychologia 35 (1) , pp. 99-105. 10.1016/S0028-3932(96)00061-9

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Abstract

One explanation for delusion formation is that they result from distorted appreciation of complex stimuli. The study investigated delusions in schizophrenia using a physiological marker of visual attention and information processing, the visual scan path-a map tracing the direction and duration of gaze when an individual views a stimulus. The aim was to demonstrate the presence of a specific deficit in processing meaningful stimuli (e.g. human faces) in deluded schizophrenics (DS) by relating this to abnormal viewing strategies. Visual scan paths were measured in acutely-deluded (n = 7) and non-deluded (n = 7) schizophrenics matched for medication, illness duration and negative symptoms, plus 10 age-matched normal controls. DS employed abnormal strategies for viewing single faces and face pairs in a recognition task, staring at fewer points and fixating non-feature areas to a significantly greater extent than both control groups (P < 0.05). The results indicate that DS direct their attention to less salient visual information when viewing faces. Future paradigms employing more complex stimuli and testing DS when less-deluded will allow further clarification of the relationship between viewing strategies and delusions.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0028-3932
Last Modified: 27 Nov 2015 14:19
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/81949

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