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Brain Cogn. 2005 Dec;59(3):292-5. Epub 2005 Aug 25.

Cognitive discernible factors between schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Centre de Recherche Fernand-Seguin, Hôspital Louis-H. Lafontaine, Université de Montréal, Que., Canada. emmanuel.stip@umontreal.ca



Schizophrenia (SZ) and schizoaffective disorders (SA) are associated with cognitive deficits. Generally, a schizoaffective diagnosis is associated with better prognosis on the level of social integration. It is also well established that cognition is an important factor for good social outcome in schizophrenia. We hypothesized that, although patients suffering from SA share symptoms with SZ, they can be differentiated on the basis of neurocognitive function and that SA perform better in several domains.


Performances of two groups SA (N = 13) and SZ (N = 44) were compared on several visual-motor tasks using CANTAB [Motor Screening (MOT), Reaction Time (RTI), Paired Associates Learning Task (PAL), and Stockings of Cambridge items (SOC)]. The two groups were matched for symptom severity. ANOVA with repeated measures was employed to determine whether any difference in cognitive scores during a 2-year period was significantly related to the diagnostic status.


A significant and durable difference was observed between SZ and SA on motor screening and explicit memory tests where SA performed better.


Neurocognitive tests may be relevant for distinguishing schizoaffective from schizophrenia, chiefly via tests tapping into visuo-spatial and visuo-motor coordination abilities (e.g., paired associated learning and motor screening).

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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