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Schizophr Res. 1995 Jul;16(1):67-71.

A preliminary study of externally and self-ordered task performance in schizophrenia.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry and Neuropsychology, Limburg University, AB Maastricht, The Netherlands.


Frontal lobe dysfunctions are assumed to be involved in the cognitive problems of schizophrenia. The inability to plan or organize behavior, however, may be the result of an inability to process information (i.e., attention disorder) as well as of an incapacity of information processing (i.e., overstimulation). Wiegersma et al. (1990) described impaired performance in frontal lobe patients on self-ordered tasks (Randomization Span and Sequential Pointing span) but intact performance on externally ordered tasks (Digit Span and Missing Item scan). These four tasks were used in the present study in which ten schizophrenic patients and ten matched controls participated. The schizophrenic patients exhibited significant impairments in the self-ordered as well as in the externally ordered tasks. It was concluded that the impairment of schizophrenic patients may be caused by overstimulation rather than by attention disorders.

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