Background: The contingent negative variation (CNV) is considered to reflect prefrontal functioning and can be observed before manual and ocular motor responses. Schizophrenic patients exhibit reduced CNV amplitudes in tasks requiring manual motor responses. A number of studies has also found normal prosaccades, but delayed antisaccades and an augmented rate of erroneous prosaccades during the antisaccade task in schizophrenia. In this study we examined the CNV during pro- and antisaccade tasks in schizophrenic patients and healthy control subjects. Methods: Data of 17 medicated schizophrenics (ICD-10, F20) and 18 control subjects, matched with patients for age, gender, and education were analyzed. Horizontal pro- and antisaccades were elicited in four blocks, each consisting of 80 trials. Electroencephalogram was recorded from 32 channels with a DC amplifier. Results: Patients exhibited delayed correct responses and more erroneous prosaccades during the antisaccade task than control subjects, but normal prosaccadic reaction times. In control subjects, the vertex-predominant saccadic CNV was generally larger than in patients, and larger during the anti- than during the prosaccade task. This task-related amplitude augmentation was absent in patients. Analyses of additional components suggested specificity of impaired event-related potential modulation to the saccadic CNV. Conclusions: In accordance with the presumed prefrontal dysfunction, our results suggest deficient preparation and execution of antisaccades in schizophrenia. Copyright (C) 2000 Society of Biological Psychiatry.
- Antisaccadic task
- Event-related brain potentials
- Saccadic CNV