Working Memory and Attention Influence Antisaccade Error Rate in Schizophrenia

Elizabeth H.X. Thomas, Susan L. Rossell, Jessica B. Myles, Eric J. Tan, Erica Neill, Sean P. Carruthers, Philip J. Sumner, Kiymet Bozaoglu, Caroline Gurvich

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: Antisaccade error rate has been proposed to be one of the most promising endophenotypes for schizophrenia. Increased error rate in patients has been associated with working memory, attention and other executive function impairments. The relationship between antisaccade error rate and other neuropsychological processes in patients compared to healthy controls has not been explored in depth. This study aimed to replicate the finding of heightened antisaccade error rate in patients and determine which cognitive processes were most strongly associated with antisaccade error rate in both patients and controls. In addition, the study investigated whether different antisaccade task paradigms engage different cognitive processes. Methods: One hundred and ninety-one participants (54 patients with schizophrenia/schizoaffective disorder and 137 controls) completed the antisaccade task, which included both gap and step task parameters. Neuropsychological measures were obtained using the MCCB and the Stroop task. Results: The current study replicated a pronounced antisaccade error rate deficit in patients. In patients, working memory variance was most significantly associated with antisaccade errors made during the step condition, while attentional processes were most associated with errors made during the gap condition. In controls, overall global cognitive performance was most associated with antisaccade rates for both gap and step conditions. Conclusions: The current study demonstrates that in schizophrenia patients, but not controls, elevated antisaccade error rate is associated with attention and working memory, but not with global cognitive impairment or psychopathological processes. Our novel findings demonstrate that the gap and step conditions of the antisaccade task engage different cognitive processes. (JINS, 2019, 25, 174-183).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)174-183
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the International Neuropsychological Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2019


  • Cognition
  • Endophenotypes
  • Eye movements
  • Inhibition (psychology)
  • Mental disorders
  • Saccades

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