Verbal and nonverbal neuropsychological test performance in subjects with schizotypal personality disorder

Voglmaier MM, Seidman LJ, Niznikiewicz MA, Dickey CC, Shenton ME, McCarley RW

Am J Psychiatry 2000 May;157(5):787-93

PMID: 10784473


OBJECTIVE: The authors contrasted verbal and nonverbal measures of attention and memory in patients with DSM-IV-defined schizotypal personality disorder in order to expand on their previous findings of verbal learning deficits in these patients and to understand better the neuropsychological profile of schizotypal personality disorder.

METHOD: Cognitive test performance was examined in 16 right-handed men who met diagnostic criteria for schizotypal personality disorder and 16 matched male comparison subjects. Neuropsychological measures included verbal and nonverbal tests of persistence, supraspan learning, and short- and long-term memory retention. Neuropsychological profiles were constructed by standardizing test scores based on the means and standard deviations of the comparison subject group.

RESULTS: Subjects with schizotypal personality disorder showed a mild to moderate general reduction in performance on all measures. Verbal measures of persistence, short-term retention, and learning were more severely impaired than their nonverbal analogs. Performance on measures of memory retention was independent of modality.

CONCLUSIONS: The results are consistent with previous reports that have suggested a mild, general decrement in cognitive performance and proportionately greater involvement of the left hemisphere in patients with schizotypal personality disorder. The findings provide further support for a specific deficit in the early processing stages of verbal learning.