Search tips
Search criteria 


Logo of agpsychBioMed Centralbiomed central web sitesearchsubmit a manuscriptregisterthis articleAnnals of General Psychiatry
Ann Gen Psychiatry. 2010; 9(Suppl 1): S126.
Published online 2010 April 22. doi:  10.1186/1744-859X-9-S1-S126
PMCID: PMC2991810

The effect of psychopathology on set shifting and reversal learning in schizophrenia


Recent studies suggest that negative and disorganized symptoms of schizophrenia are modestly associated with cognitive deficits, whereas positive and depressive symptoms are not.

Materials and methods

27 patients with schizophrenia were tested on an intra-dimensional/extra-dimensional set-shifting (IEDS) task of the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB) in an acute psychiatric ward. Their psychopathological state was assessed with PANSS and the Calgary Depression Scale. Correlation analysis was used to examine the association of psychopathology with set shifting and reversal learning performance.


We found significant positive correlations of PANSS total (rho = 0.53, p = 0.016) and general (rho = 0.590, p = 0.006) scores with the intra-dimensional reversal errors in IEDS. No significant correlations of IEDS performance variables with the PANSS positive or negative symptoms scores were found. PANSS disorganization scores showed positive correlations with intra-dimensional reversal errors (rho = 0.639, p = 0.002), but a small negative correlation with the number of completed IEDS stages (rho = -0.392, p = 0.043). No association was detected between depressive symptoms and IEDS task performance.


We found modest associations between symptomatology and the intra-dimensional reversal ability in schizophrenia. These associations are mainly driven by disorganization symptoms. Positive, negative and depressive symptoms are not associated with IEDS performance.


  • Dominguez Mde G, Viechtbauer W, Simons CJ, van Os J, Krabbendam L. Are psychotic psychopathology and neurocognition orthogonal? A systematic review of their associations. Psychol Bull. 2009;135(1):157–71. doi: 10.1037/a0014415. [PubMed] [Cross Ref]
  • McKirdy J, Sussmann JE, Hall J, Lawrie SM, Johnstone EC, McIntosh AM. Set shifting and reversal learning in patients with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. Psychol Med. 2009;39(8):1289–93. doi: 10.1017/S0033291708004935. [PubMed] [Cross Ref]

Articles from Annals of General Psychiatry are provided here courtesy of BioMed Central