Relationship between attention and arousal level in schizophrenia


address: Dr Eisuke Matsushima, Section of Liaison Psychiatry and Palliative Medicine, Graduate School of Tokyo Medical and Dental University, 5-45 Yushima 1-chome, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8519, Japan.


The purpose of the present paper was to clarify the link between the attention and arousal level that supports the basis of the cognitive dysfunction in schizophrenia, by investigating the relationship between the simple reaction time and the closed-eye eye movements in 30 patients with schizophrenia and 20 healthy controls. In terms of closed-eye eye movements during the simple reaction time test, healthy controls showed an increase of s-type (small and slow) eye movements after the end of the preparatory interval (PI) in both regular and irregular series, while the patients with schizophrenia, particularly those in whom the cross-over phenomenon was observed, showed no changes and maintained a hyperarousal level during the regular PI test. These results indicate that the patients with schizophrenia could not maintain appropriate attention during the burden tasks and their hyperarousal level persisted. It is therefore suggested that there is a close relationship between attentional deficit and hyperarousal among patients with schizophrenia.