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ISSN: 2167-1044

Journal of Depression and Anxiety
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Research Article

Effect of Gaze Direction on Orienting of Attention in Patients with Schizophrenia: Attention or Social Cognition Deficit?

Maria Chiara Pino1*, Melania Mariano2, Alessandro Valchera3, Marco Valenti2,4, Domenico De Berardis5,6 and Monica Mazza2
1Department of Life, Health and Environmental Sciences, University of L’Aquila, L’Aquila, 67100, Italy
2Department of Applied Clinical Sciences and Biotechnology, University of L’Aquila, L’Aquila, 67100, Italy
3Hermanas Hospitalarias, FoRiPsi, Villa S. Giuseppe Hospital, Ascoli Piceno, 63100, Italy
4Reference Regional Centre for Autism, Abruzzo Region Health System, L’Aquila, 67100, Italy
5NHS, Department of Mental Health, Psychiatric Service of Diagnosis and Treatment, Hospital “G. Mazzini”, ASL 4, Teramo, 64100, Italy
6Department of Neurosciences and Imaging, Chair of Psychiatry, University “G. D’Annunzio” of Chieti, Chieti Scalo, 66100, Italy
Corresponding Author : Maria Chiara Pino
PhD Student, Department of Life
Health and Environmental Sciences
University of L’Aquila, Via Vetoio
Località Coppito, 67100 L’Aquila, Italy
Tel: +39 0862 433401
E-mail: [email protected]
Received May 07, 2015; Accepted August 21, 2015; Published August 24, 2015
Citation:Pino MC, Mariano M, Valchera A, Valenti M, De Berardis D, et al. (2015) Effect of Gaze Direction on Orienting of Attention in Patients with Schizophrenia: Attention or Social Cognition Deficit? . J Depress Anxiety 4: 200. doi:10.4172/2167-1044.1000200
Copyright: ©2015 Pino MC, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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Introduction: the ability to use the gaze direction of another person to guide attention is part of a complex construct named Social Cognition. Schizophrenics showed impairments in domains of social cognition.

Aim and objectives: the aim of this study was to investigate whether gaze cueing of attention is compromised in schizophrenic subjects.

Materials and methods: we tested 18 schizophrenics and 18 controls who were presented with gaze and arrow cues in a modified version of the Posner’s spatial cueing paradigm.

Results: The performance of schizophrenics was compromised when the cue is represented by the gaze rather than by the arrow. In fact, our results showed that two groups differ only for gaze condition both in reaction times (F1,34=61.557; p=0.0001) and number of errors (F1,34=6.39; p=0.002). Moreover, the correlation analysis showed that the Eyes Task negatively correlates with invalid condition when the cue was the gaze (r=-0.504, p=0.03). This result underlines the crucial relation between the emotional recognition capacity of the another person’s gaze and the orienting of attention capacity through the interpretation of other people’s gazes. These capacities seem to be precursors for good development of Social Cognition.

Conclusion: Taken together, these findings suggest that schizophrenics showed a specific deficit in social attention, that is part of social cognition construct. Deficit in attention to gaze direction in patients with schizophrenia may contribute to interpersonal and social cognitive difficulties. Thus, the gaze interpretation ability can be considered as an important part in rehabilitation strategies for schizophrenics


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