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4. Antisaccade deficits in schizophrenia are not purely driven by bottom-up attentional capture
Background:The antisaccade task is considered a test of cognitive control because it places top-down goals in conflict with strong bottom-up inputs, and in schizophrenia, the antisaccade deficit is thought to reflect impaired top-down inhibition of a prepotent bottom-up response to the cue. However, this formulation ignores the fact that the cue has attentional relevance in guiding eye movements. Methods:To address this, we designed 3 tasks that varied the bottom salience and attentional relevance of the cue. We used 4 potential cue locations, one in each visual quadrant. In one condition, a single cue stimulus was presented at one of the 4 locations. In another “pop-out” condition, colored disks appeared in each of the 4 locations, with 3 disks of one color and 1 disk of another color. In the “search” condition, all 4 locations had a colored disk of similar luminance, but only one color was relevant. Results:Schizophrenia patients(N=43) manifested significantly higher antisaccade error rates and latencies than controls(N=34) across conditions. Most importantly, increased errors were seen in the search condition, suggesting that a shift of attention is sufficient to elicit an error. Background:The key finding was that the antisaccade deficit in PSZ persisted and was magnified in the search condition where the cue stimulus lacked salience, indicating that these deficits are not purely driven by bottom-up attentional capture.