Remitted schizophrenia-spectrum patients with spared working memory show information processing abnormalities

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Working memory and information processing abnormalities are often reported in schizophrenia. The aim of this study was to examine visual backward masking (BM) functions in remitted schizophrenia-spectrum patients with spared working memory functions. Seventy-two patients with DSM-IV schizophrenia-spectrum disorders were screened using the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST) and the digit span forward/backward tasks. Patients with spared WCST and digit span performances were selected and administered a spatial working memory test and two BM procedures (target identification and location). The schizophrenia-spectrum group with spared WCST and digit span performances included individuals with schizophreniform disorder (N=11), schizophrenia (N=2), and schizoaffective disorder (N=2). These patients were clinically remitted and demonstrated spared IQ, normal spatial working memory, and relatively high psychosocial functioning. However, there was a significant impairment in the BM procedure, most prominently in the target location task and at short interstimulus intervals. These results suggest that the BM dysfunction is a trait marker of schizophrenia-spectrum disorders and may be present in the absence of working memory abnormalities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-65
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean archives of psychiatry and clinical neuroscience
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2001



  • Schizophrenia
  • Schizophreniform

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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