• Schizophrenia;
  • Family study;
  • Memory saccades;
  • Delayed response task;
  • Eye movements;
  • Saccades

Schizophrenia patients and their relatives have saccadic abnormalities characterized by problems inhibiting a response. The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and its associated circuitry ostensibly mediate inhibition and support correct delayed response performance. In this context, two components of delayed response task performance are of interest: memory saccade metrics and error saccades made during the delay. To evaluate these variables, an ocular motor delayed response task was presented to 23 schizophrenia patients, 25 of their first-degree biological relatives, and 19 normal subjects. The measure that best differentiated groups was an increased frequency of error saccades generated during the delay by schizophrenia subjects and relatives. Decreased memory saccade gain also characterized patients and relatives. The similar pattern of results demonstrated by the patients with schizophrenia and their relatives suggests that performance on ocular motor delayed response tasks, either alone or in combination with other saccadic variables, may provide useful information about neural substrates associated with a liability for developing schizophrenia.