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Open Access Research article

SPEM dysfunction and general schizotypy as measured by the SSQ: a controlled study

Dirk van Kampen1 and Jan Berend Deijen2*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Clinical Psychology, VU University, Van der Boechorststraat 1, 1081 BT Amsterdam, The Netherlands

2 Department of Clinical Neuropsychology, VU University, Van der Boechorststraat 1, 1081 BT Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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BMC Neurology 2009, 9:27  doi:10.1186/1471-2377-9-27

Published: 29 June 2009



SPEM dysfunction is a well-known phenomenon in schizophrenia. The principal aim of the present study was to examine whether SPEM dysfunction is already observable in subjects scoring high on a specific measure of schizotypy (SSQ General Schizotypy) that was selected because of its intimate relationship with schizophrenic prodromal unfolding.


Applying ANOVAs, we determined the relationship of subjects' scores on SSQ General Schizotypy and eye movements elicited by targets of different speed. We also examined whether there exists an association between our schizotypy measure and pupil size.


We found more SPEM dysfunction in subjects scoring high on SSQ General Schizotypy than in subjects scoring average on that factor, irrespective of the speed of the target. No relationship was found between baseline pupil size and General Schizotypy.


The present study provides additional evidence that SPEM dysfunction is associated with schizotypic features that precede the onset of schizophrenia and is already observable in general population subjects that show these features.