Journal of Eating Disorders volume 10, Article number: 47
Recent research indicates that patients with anorexia (AN) show specific eye movement abnormalities such as shorter prosaccade latencies, more saccade inhibition errors, and increased rate of saccadic intrusions compared to participants without AN. However, it remains unknown whether these abnormal eye movement patterns, which may serve as potential biomarkers and endophenotypes for an early diagnosis and preventive clinical treatments, start to manifest also in people with subclinical eating disorders (ED) symptomatology. Therefore, we propose a protocol for an exploratory experimental study to investigate whether participants with subclinical ED symptomatology and control participants differ in their performance on several eye movement tasks. The sample will be recruited through convenience sampling. The Eating Disorder Examination Questionnaire will be administered as a screening tool to split the sample into participants with subclinical ED symptomatology and control participants. A fixation task, prosaccade/antisaccade task, and memory-guided task will be administered to both groups. Additionally, we will measure anxiety and premorbid intelligence as confounding variables. Means comparison, exploratory Pearson’s correlations and discriminant analysis will be performed. This study will be the first to elucidate the presence of specific eye movement abnormalities in participants with subclinical ED symptomatology. The results may open opportunities for developing novel diagnostic tools/therapies being helpful to the EDs research community and allied fields.