Computer Vision-Based Assessment of Motor Functioning in Schizophrenia: Use of Smartphones for Remote Measurement of Schizophrenia Symptomatology

Anzar Abbas, Vijay Yadav, Emma Smith, Elizabeth Ramjas, Sarah B. Rutter, Caridad Benavidez, Vidya Koesmahargyo, Li Zhang, Lei Guan, Paul Rosenfield, Mercedes Perez-Rodriguez, Isaac R. Galatzer-Levy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Introduction: Motor abnormalities have been shown to be a distinct component of schizophrenia symptomatology. However, objective and scalable methods for assessment of motor functioning in schizophrenia are lacking. Advancements in machine learning-based digital tools have allowed for automated and remote "digital phenotyping"of disease symptomatology. Here, we assess the performance of a computer vision-based assessment of motor functioning as a characteristic of schizophrenia using video data collected remotely through smartphones. Methods: Eighteen patients with schizophrenia and 9 healthy controls were asked to remotely participate in smartphone-based assessments daily for 14 days. Video recorded from the smartphone front-facing camera during these assessments was used to quantify the Euclidean distance of head movement between frames through a pretrained computer vision model. The ability of head movement measurements to distinguish between patients and healthy controls as well as their relationship to schizophrenia symptom severity as measured through traditional clinical scores was assessed. Results: The rate of head movement in participants with schizophrenia (1.48 mm/frame) and those without differed significantly (2.50 mm/frame; p = 0.01), and a logistic regression demonstrated that head movement was a significant predictor of schizophrenia diagnosis (p = 0.02). Linear regression between head movement and clinical scores of schizophrenia showed that head movement has a negative relationship with schizophrenia symptom severity (p = 0.04), primarily with negative symptoms of schizophrenia. Conclusions: Remote, smartphone-based assessments were able to capture meaningful visual behavior for computer vision-based objective measurement of head movement. The measurements of head movement acquired were able to accurately classify schizophrenia diagnosis and quantify symptom severity in patients with schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-36
Number of pages8
JournalDigital Biomarkers
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • Digital phenotyping
  • Head movement
  • Motor function
  • Schizophrenia


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