OBJECTIVE: Schizophrenia patients consistently demonstrate performance deficits on visual masking procedures. The present study examined whether attentional manipulation would improve subjects’ performance on visual masking. METHOD: A metacontrast task was administered to 105 schizophrenia patients and 52 healthy comparison subjects. Attention was manipulated by associating selected trials of the task with monetary reward. RESULTS: Schizophrenia patients exhibited poorer performance than the comparison subjects across conditions. Patients demonstrated modest, but statistically significant, improvement in performance with the attentional manipulation. This improvement was not significant for the comparison subjects. CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that early visual processes in schizophrenia are responsive to attentional manipulation but that the degree of improvement is relatively small, suggesting that these processes are not easily altered.