Relationship between symptom dimensions and neurocognitive functioning in schizophrenia: a meta-analysis of WCST and CPT studies

Mark R. Nieuwenstein, André Aleman, Edward H. F. De Haan

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271 Citations (Scopus)


Cognitive deficits have been hypothesized to be differentially related to the negative, positive and disorganization dimensions of schizophrenia symptoms. In this article, we quantitatively review the published literature on the relationships between symptom dimensions in schizophrenia and performance on the two most widely applied tests of executive functioning and sustained attention, the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST) and the Continuous Performance Test (CPT). Meta-analyses were conducted on studies that reported correlational data for the relations between performance on these tests and scales of positive and negative symptoms. The more recent distinction between disorganization and reality distortion was also taken into account. The results showed statistically significant relationships of negative symptoms with worse performance on the WCST and the CPT. Disorganization symptoms showed a significant positive correlation with perseverations on the WCST, but not with CPT performance. in contrast, reality distortion symptoms and general scores for all positive symptoms did not correlate with either measure. Although some correlations were statistically significant, the observed associations between psychiatric symptoms and cognitive performance were typically weak, suggesting relative independence of these disease processes
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-125
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Psychiatric Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2001

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