Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Psychiatry Res. 2014 Feb 28;215(2):294-9. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2013.11.024. Epub 2013 Dec 4.

Impaired automatization of a cognitive skill in first-degree relatives of patients with schizophrenia.

Author information

University of California, San Francisco, United States. Electronic address:
University of California, Los Angeles, United States.
University of California, Berkeley, United States.
Imaging Research Center at University of Texas at Austin, United States; Department of Psychology at University of Texas at Austin, United States; Department of Neurobiology at University of Texas at Austin, United States.
David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California, Los Angeles, United States.


We studied healthy, first-degree relatives of patients with schizophrenia to test the hypothesis that deficits in cognitive skill learning are associated with genetic liability to schizophrenia. Using the Weather Prediction Task (WPT), 23 healthy controls and 10 adult first-degree Relatives Of Schizophrenia (ROS) patients were examined to determine the extent to which cognitive skill learning was automated using a dual-task paradigm to detect subtle impairments in skill learning. Automatization of a skill is the ability to execute a task without the demand for executive control and effortful behavior and is a skill in which schizophrenia patients possess a deficit. ROS patients did not differ from healthy controls in accuracy or reaction time on the WPT either during early or late training on the single-task trials. In contrast, the healthy control and ROS groups were differentially affected during the dual-task trials. Our results demonstrate that the ROS group did not automate the task as well as controls and continued to rely on controlled processing even after extensive practice. This suggests that adult ROS patients may engage in compensatory strategies to achieve normal levels of performance and support the hypothesis that impaired cognitive skill learning is associated with genetic risk for schizophrenia.


Automatization; Genetic liability; Schizophrenia; Skill learning

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center