The British Journal of Psychiatry
Neuropsychological correlates of syndromes in schizophrenia.
R M Norman, A K Malla, S L Morrison-Stewart, E Helmes, P C Williamson, J Thomas, L Cortese


BACKGROUND On the basis of Liddle's three-syndrome model of schizophrenia, it was predicted that: (1) symptoms of psychomotor poverty would be particularly correlated with impaired performance on neuropsychological tests likely to reflect functioning of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex; (2) disorganisation would be particularly correlated with impaired performance on tests sensitive to medio-basal prefrontal functioning; and (3) reality distortion would be particularly correlated with measures sensitive to temporal lobe functioning.

METHOD The above hypotheses were tested on 87 subjects with a confirmed diagnosis of schizophrenia. Patients' symptoms were scored for each of the three syndromes. Patients completed six neuropsychological tests designed to measure impairment in specific areas of the brain.

RESULTS There was no support for the first two hypotheses. There was, however, evidence of a specific relationship between reality distortion and neuropsychological performance usually considered to be related to left temporal lobe functioning.

CONCLUSIONS Although not directly supporting the first two hypotheses; the results are, in general, consistent with there being different cortical-subcortical circuits associated with each of psychomotor poverty and disorganisation. Temporal lobe functioning appears to have particular significance for the reality distortion syndrome.