Cognition in Schizophrenia

Cognition in Schizophrenia

Cognitive dysfunction is common in patients with schizophrenia, with deficits reported in a range of functions including memory, attention, executive processes, language and motor skills. (Weinberger & Gallhofer p. 295-365; Rossell & David p. 26-9) The severity of cognitive dysfunction has been shown to be an important predictor of social and occupational outcome. (Breier et al p. 239-46; Browne et al p. 118-24; Brekke et al p. 19-28) Indeed, outcome measures have been found to correlate more closely with the extent of cognitive dysfunction than with the severity of psychotic symptoms. Improvement in cognitive functioning is increasingly acknowledged as an important treatment goal in the management of schizophrenia. Besides cognitive dysfunction, the symptoms of schizophrenia include disorders of perception, thought, motivation and social behavior. This diversity of symptoms might be understood as the result of a disturbance in a single, fundamental cognitive process. A number of models have been developed, which explain the symptoms of schizophrenia as manifestations of an underlying problem in perceiving, evaluating and retaining information. Braff (p. 233-59) has suggested, based on both clinical and neurophysiological abnormalities, that patients with schizophrenia have difficulty with the allocation of attentional resources to relevant tasks.
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