Eye Movements in Neuropsychological Tasks

  • Timothy L. HodgsonEmail author
  • Gemma Ezard
  • Frouke Hermens
Part of the Current Topics in Behavioral Neurosciences book series (CTBN, volume 41)


This chapter reviews how recording and analysis of eye movements have been applied to understanding cognitive functioning in patients with neurological disease. Measures derived from the performance of instructed eye movement tests such as the anti-saccade and memory-guided saccade tasks have been shown to be associated with cognitive test performance and the early stages of neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Other researchers have taken an ecological approach and recorded the uninstructed pattern of saccades made by patients during performance of established neuropsychological tasks. Studies that have analysed the eye movement strategies used in a number of widely used tests are reviewed, including the Corsi blocks, Tower of London, ‘CANTAB’ Spatial Working Memory and Brixton Spatial Anticipation test. The findings illustrate that eye movements are not purely in the service of vision, but support visuospatial working memory and forward action planning. Eye movement tests and measures also have potential for application in the assessment and diagnosis of neurological disease and cognitive impairment. Establishing large-scale normative data sets in healthy older adults and use of machine learning multivariate classifier algorithms may be key to further developing eye tracking applications in neuropsychological assessment.


Cognitive planning Dementia Executive function Frontal lobe Oculomotor Saccades 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Timothy L. Hodgson
    • 1
    Email author
  • Gemma Ezard
    • 2
  • Frouke Hermens
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Psychology, University of LincolnLincolnUK
  2. 2.Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation TrustLincolnUK

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