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J Pers Disord. 2004 Oct;18(5):421-38.

Executive neurocognitive functioning and neurobehavioral systems indicators in borderline personality disorder: a preliminary study.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Harvard University, USA.


It is argued that borderline personality disorder (BPD) represents the interaction of underlying neurobehavioral systems that are reflected principally in the phenotypic constructs of positive emotion, negative emotion, and nonaffective constraint (Depue & Lenzenweger, 2001). This preliminary and exploratory study sought to examine predictions made from the Depue-Lenzenweger model with respect to controlled (effortful) information processing in BPD. It was hypothesized that (a) BPD subjects may display deficits on tasks that require controlled information processing (sustained attention, spatial working memory, and executive functioning), (b) they may reveal elevated negative emotion as well as decreased positive emotion and nonaffective constraint, and (c) nonaffective constraint should be substantially inversely associated with accurate performance on controlled information processing tasks. The results of this study, which examined 24 BPD diagnosed individuals and 68 normal adults, found support for each of these predictions in relation to performance on the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test. The implications of these results for further experimental psychopathology investigations of BPD as well as further refinement of theoretical models of the disorder are discussed.

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