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Psychiatry Res. 1993 Feb;46(2):175-99.

Factors of the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test as measures of frontal-lobe function in schizophrenia and in chronic alcoholism.

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Psychiatry Service, Palo Alto Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, CA 94304.


The purpose of this study was to examine the factor structure of the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST). The scores of 22 patients with schizophrenia, 20 patients with chronic alcoholism, and 16 normal control subjects were entered into a principal components analysis, which yielded three factors: Perseveration, Inefficient Sorting, and Nonperseverative Errors. WCST performance of seven patients with lesions invading the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, available from another study, provided criterion validity for the Perseveration factor and, less strongly, for the Inefficient Sorting factor. Two patterns of performance characterized the three patient groups: the schizophrenic group and frontal lobe group had the highest Perseveration factor scores, whereas the alcoholic group had the highest Inefficient Sorting scores; the Nonperseverative Errors factor showed no significant group differences. Construct validity of these factors involved assessing, in all but the frontal group, the degree of overlap (convergent validity) and separation (discriminant validity) of each WCST factor with scores from tests of other cognitive functions. The convergent and discriminant validity of the Perseveration factor, but not the remaining two factors, received support only within the group of schizophrenic patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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