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Schizophr Res. 2010 Sep;122(1-3):131-5. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2010.02.1057. Epub 2010 Mar 11.

Intact associative learning in patients with schizophrenia: evidence from a Go/NoGo paradigm.

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Department of Psychiatry, Vanderbilt University, 1601 23rd Avenue South, Nashville, TN 37212-3133, USA.



Schizophrenia is associated with deficits in executive control and associative learning. In the present study, we investigated the effect of associative learning during a Go/NoGo task in healthy controls subjects and patients with schizophrenia.


Thirty patients with schizophrenia and 30 age-and-gender matched healthy control subjects performed 15 blocks of training and 3 blocks of test trials. The trials consisted of responding to words denoting either living or non-living objects. In the training condition, subjects were instructed to respond by pressing the space bar (Go-task) to one of the word types (living or non-living objects), but not the other. In the test phase, the Go/NoGo mapping was reversed. Subjects were instructed to respond as quickly and as accurately as possible. Reaction times (RT) and accuracy were recorded for each trial and all subjects were debriefed upon completion of the test trials.


Patients with schizophrenia had significantly longer Go RTs when compared to the control group, during both training and test trials. However, the two groups did not differ on any measure of associative learning.


Our findings suggest that associative learning is intact in schizophrenia patients during the performance of a relational Go/NoGo paradigm.

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