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Neuropsychology. 2011 Nov;25(6):784-91. doi: 10.1037/a0025534.

Crystallized verbal skills in schizophrenia: relationship to neurocognition, symptoms, and functional status.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT 06459, USA.



To study the relationship of superior (i.e., ≥ 90th percentile), average (11th-89th percentile) or extremely low (i.e., ≤ 10th percentile) crystallized verbal skills to neurocognitive profiles, symptoms and everyday life function in schizophrenia.


Crystallized verbal skill was derived from Vocabulary subtest scores from the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS). Out of a sample of 165 stable outpatients with schizophrenia we identified 25 participants with superior crystallized verbal skill, 104 participants with average verbal skill, and 36 participants with extremely low crystallized verbal skill. Each participant was administered measures of attention, working memory, verbal learning and memory, problem-solving and processing speed, as well as symptom and performance-based adaptive life skill assessments.


The magnitude of neuropsychological impairment across the three groups was different, after adjusting for group differences in education and duration of illness. Working memory, and verbal learning and memory skills were different across all three groups, while processing speed differentiated the extremely low verbal skill group from the other two groups and problem-solving differentiated the very low verbal skill group from the superior verbal skill group. There were no group differences in sustained attention. Capacity measures of everyday life skills were different across each of the three groups.


Crystallized verbal skill in schizophrenia is related to the magnitude of impairment in neurocognitive function and performance-based skills in everyday life function. Patterns of neuropsychological impairment were similar across different levels of crystallized verbal skill.

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