Published online by Cambridge University Press: 24 February 2021
Antisaccade tasks can be used to index cognitive control processes, e.g. attention, behavioral inhibition, working memory, and goal maintenance in people with brain disorders. Though diagnoses of schizophrenia (SZ), schizoaffective (SAD), and bipolar I with psychosis (BDP) are typically considered to be distinct entities, previous work shows patterns of cognitive deficits differing in degree, rather than in kind, across these syndromes.
Large samples of individuals with psychotic disorders were recruited through the Bipolar-Schizophrenia Network on Intermediate Phenotypes 2 (B-SNIP2) study. Anti- and pro-saccade task performances were evaluated in 189 people with SZ, 185 people with SAD, 96 people with BDP, and 279 healthy comparison participants. Logistic functions were fitted to each group's antisaccade speed-performance tradeoff patterns.
Psychosis groups had higher antisaccade error rates than the healthy group, with SZ and SAD participants committing 2 times as many errors, and BDP participants committing 1.5 times as many errors. Latencies on correctly performed antisaccade trials in SZ and SAD were longer than in healthy participants, although error trial latencies were preserved. Parameters of speed-performance tradeoff functions indicated that compared to the healthy group, SZ and SAD groups had optimal performance characterized by more errors, as well as less benefit from prolonged response latencies. Prosaccade metrics did not differ between groups.
With basic prosaccade mechanisms intact, the higher speed-performance tradeoff cost for antisaccade performance in psychosis cases indicates a deficit that is specific to the higher-order cognitive aspects of saccade generation.