Motor precision deficits in clinical high risk for psychosis

Katherine S.F. Damme*, Y. Catherine Han, Ziyan Han, Paul J. Reber, Vijay A. Mittal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Motor deficits appear prior to psychosis onset, provide insight into vulnerability as well as mechanisms that give rise to emerging illness, and are predictive of conversion. However, to date, the extant literature has often targeted a complex abnormality (e.g., gesture dysfunction, dyskinesia), or a single fundamental domain (e.g., accuracy) but rarely provided critical information about several of the individual components that make up more complex behaviors (or deficits). This preliminary study applies a novel implicit motor task to assess domains of motor accuracy, speed, recognition, and precision in individuals at clinical high risk for psychosis (CHR-p). Sixty participants (29 CHR-p; 31 healthy volunteers) completed clinical symptom interviews and a novel Serial Interception Sequence Learning (SISL) task that assessed implicit motor sequence accuracy, speed, precision, and explicit sequence recognition. These metrics were examined in multilevel models that enabled the examination of overall effects and changes in motor domains over blocks of trials and by positive/negative symptom severity. Implicit motor sequence accuracy, speed, and explicit sequence recognition were not detected as impacted in CHR-p. When compared to healthy controls, individuals at CHR-p were less precise in motor responses both overall (d = 0.91) and particularly in early blocks which normalized over later blocks. Within the CHR-p group, these effects were related to positive symptom levels (t = − 2.22, p = 0.036), such that individuals with higher symptom levels did not improve in motor precision over time (r’s = 0.01–0.05, p’s > 0.54). CHR-p individuals showed preliminary evidence of motor precision deficits but no other motor domain deficits, particularly in early performance that normalized with practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalEuropean Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience
StateAccepted/In press - 2023


  • Clinical high risk for psychosis
  • Motor
  • Motor learning
  • Motor precision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Biological Psychiatry


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