Fractionation of verbal memory impairment in schizophrenia and schizophreniform psychosis

Stephen J. Wood*, Aleks U. Tarnawski, Tina M. Proffitt, Warrick J. Brewer, Greg R. Savage, Vicki Anderson, Patrick D. McGorry, Dennis Velakoulis, Christos Pantelis

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    12 Citations (Scopus)


    Objectives: The characterization, aetiology, and course of verbal memory deficits in schizophrenia remain ill defined. The impact of antipsychotic medications is also unclear. The purpose of the present paper was to investigate verbal memory performance in established schizophrenia (SZ) and first-episode schizophreniform psychosis (FE). Method: Performances of 32 SZ and 33 FE patients were compared to those of 47 healthy volunteers on measures of verbal working memory, verbal associative learning and story recall. Results: Story recall deficits, but not deficits in working memory or paired associate learning, were demonstrated by both patient groups. Patients treated with typical neuroleptics had more impairment in associative learning with arbitrary word pairings than those treated with atypicals, regardless of patient group. Conclusions: The results are consistent with the notion that some neuropsychological impairment is present at the time of psychosis onset and that this impairment is non-progressive. However, deficits may be specific to subclasses of memory function.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)732-739
    Number of pages8
    JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry
    Issue number9
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2007


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