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August 1974

Eye-Tracking Dysfunctions in Schizophrenic Patients and Their Relatives

Author Affiliations

From the departments of psychiatry (Drs. Holzman and Meltzer); surgery, Section of Otolaryngology (Dr. Proctor); and psychology (Ms. Levy and Mr. Hurt); and the Franklin McLean Memorial Research Institute (Mr. Yasillo), University of Chicago.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1974;31(2):143-151. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1974.01760140005001

A simple test of smooth-pursuit eye movements disclosed a striking association between deviant eye tracking and clinically diagnosed schizophrenia. A high proportion of the schizophrenic patients' first-degree relatives who were not themselves clinically schizophrenic also showed deviant eye-tracking behavior. The relationship of poor eye tracking and schizophrenia is even stronger when specific psychological test evidence of thought disorder is used operationally to classify patients. The eye-tracking dysfunction may thus represent a genetic marker that can prove highly useful for studying the transmission of a vulnerability to schizophrenia. The findings suggest proprioceptive and interoceptive involvement in schizophrenic pathology.