Eye movements in anorexia nervosa: State or trait markers?

Andrea Phillipou, Larry A. Abel, Caroline Gurvich, David J. Castle, Susan L. Rossell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Differences in saccadic eye movements are widely reported in mental illnesses, and can indirectly inform our understanding of neurobiological and cognitive underpinnings of psychiatric conditions, including anorexia nervosa (AN). Preliminary research has suggested that individuals with AN may show specific eye movement abnormalities; whether these deficits are representative of state or trait effects is, however, unclear. The aim of this study was to identify whether there are demonstrable differences in performance on saccadic eye movement tasks in individuals with current AN (c-AN), those who are weight-restored from AN (wr-AN), biological sisters of individuals with AN (AN-sis), and healthy controls (HC). Methods: Eighty participants took part in the study (n = 20/group). A set of saccadic eye movement tasks was administered, including prosaccade, antisaccade, memory-guided saccade, and visual scanpath tasks. Results: The c-AN group showed an increased rate of inhibitory errors to 10° targets on the memory-guided saccade task. Discussion: The results are discussed in terms of the potential role of the superior colliculus in AN, and that the findings may reflect a state measure of AN.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1678-1684
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


  • anorexia nervosa
  • eye movements
  • eye tracking
  • memory-guided saccades
  • saccade
  • scan path
  • superior colliculus

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