The objective of the present study was to compare two components of executive functioning, response monitoring and inhibition, in bipolar disorder (BP) and schizophrenia (SZ). The saccadic countermanding task is a translational paradigm optimized for detecting subtle abnormalities in response monitoring and response inhibition. We have previously reported countermanding performance abnormalities in SZ, but the degree to which these impairments are shared by other psychotic disorders is unknown. 18 BP, 17 SZ, and 16 demographically matched healthy controls (HC) participated in a saccadic countermanding task. Performance on the countermanding task is approximated as a race between movement generation and inhibition processes; this model provides an estimate of the time needed to cancel a planned movement. Response monitoring was assessed by the reaction time (RT) adjustments based on trial history. Like SZ patients, BP patients needed more time to cancel a planned movement. The two patient groups had equivalent inhibition efficiency. On trial history-based RT adjustments, however, we found a trend towards exaggerated trial history-based slowing in SZ compared to BP. Findings have implications for understanding the neurobiology of cognitive control, for defining the etiological overlap between schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, and for developing pharmacological treatments of cognitive impairments.
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