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An Eye Tracking Study on Feigned Schizophrenia

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E-pub ahead of print
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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>12/08/2021
<mark>Journal</mark>Psychological Injury and Law
Publication StatusE-pub ahead of print
Early online date12/08/21
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

Research on malingering detection has not yet taken full advantage of eye tracking technology. In particular, while several studies indicate that patients with schizophrenia behave notably differently from controls on specific oculomotor tasks, no study has yet investigated whether experimental participants instructed to feign could reproduce those behaviors, if coached to do so. Due to the automatic nature of eye movements, we anticipated that eye tracking analyses would help detect feigned schizophrenic problems. To test this hypothesis, we recorded the eye movements of 83 adult UK volunteers, and tested whether eye movements of healthy volunteers instructed to feign schizophrenia (n = 43) would differ from those of honest controls (n = 40), while engaging in smooth pursuit and pro- and anti-saccade tasks. Additionally, results from our investigation were also compared against previously published data observed in patients with schizophrenia performing similar oculomotor tasks. Data analysis showed that eye movements of experimental participants instructed to feign (a) only partially differed from those of controls and (b) did not closely resemble those from patients with schizophrenia reported in previously published papers. Taken together, these results suggest that examination of eye movements does have the potential to help detecting feigned schizophrenia.