Executive function in deficit schizophrenia: What do the dimensions of the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test tell us?

P. Polgár, J. M. Réthelyi, S. Bálint, S. Komlósi, P. Czobor, I. Bitter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

35 Citations (Scopus)


Neuropsychological characterization of the schizophrenia deficit syndrome is an unresolved issue. The initial assumption was that patients with deficit syndrome show more definitive impairments on tests sensitive for frontal and parietal functions compared with nondeficit patients,but recent studies failed to confirm this assumption. The fundamental question is whether a more refined delineation of executive dysfunctions is able to yield differences between deficit and nondeficit patients. To investigate this question, we implemented a factor analytic approach to explore potential differences between deficit and nondeficit patients using the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST). Our paper presents an exploratory factor analysis of the WCST on schizophrenia patients and healthy samples, and a comparison among deficit, non-deficit patients with schizophrenia and control samples using the identified factors.A total of 154 patients with schizophrenia fulfilling the criteria for the deficit syndrome, 121 nondeficit patients, and 130 healthy controls were compared. Factor analysis of the WCST variables using the principal component method resulted in a two-factor solution. Comparison of the diagnostic groups on each of the factors revealed that deficit schizophrenia patients suffer from a more severe degree of impairment on the 'General executive function' factor than nondeficit schizophrenia patients. To our knowledge this is the first study that compared patients with the deficit and non-deficit forms of schizophrenia using WCST factor analytic techniques. Our results provide an insight into the cognitive profile of schizophrenia patients with regard to WCST, which could serve as a framework for future clinical and research endeavors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-93
Number of pages9
JournalSchizophrenia Research
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

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