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Biol Psychiatry. 2002 Dec 15;52(12):1175-82.

Neuropsychological performance in schizotypal personality disorder: evidence regarding diagnostic specificity.

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Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, the Bronx Veterans Affairs Medical Center, New York, New York, USA.



Individuals with schizotypal personality disorder (SPD) share cognitive deficits with schizophrenic patients, suggesting that these deficits represent a core feature of the schizophrenia spectrum. We investigated the neuropsychological profile in SPD patients compared with two comparison groups: healthy volunteers (HV) and patients who met criteria for another non-schizophrenia spectrum personality disorder (NSS).


We tested 48 DSM-III-R SPD patients, 22 NSS and 32 HV on a neuropsychologic battery that included the California Verbal Learning Test (CVLT), Trail Making A and B, the DOT test of working memory, the Stroop Color-Word Interference, the Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test (PASAT), the Wechsler Memory Scale Visual Reproduction Test (WMSV-R), and the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale vocabulary and block design.


Normative standards for performance were created using the HV group. SPD patients performed significantly worse compared with HVs; specifically, SPD patients demonstrated impaired performance on the PASAT and the WMSV-R immediate and delayed recall compared to HV. Moreover, SPD patients were impaired in the PASAT and the WMSV-R immediate condition compared with the NSS group. The NSS patients did not differ from HV on any of the cognitive tasks. The interpersonal factor of the schizotypal symptoms inversely correlated with the PASAT score (r = -.32, p <.006).


Compared with HVs, SPD patients demonstrate modest cognitive impairment. These differences reached statistical significance for the PASAT (an auditory working memory task), and the WMSV-R immediate and delayed recall (a learning-recall test). In contrast, performance of NSS patients did not differ from that of HVs. The types of deficits observed in SPD patients are qualitatively similar to but milder than those seen in patients with schizophrenia.

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