Schizophrenia

CANTAB

Schizophrenia

Cognitive deficits are common in individuals with psychosis, reflecting an underlying dysfunction of neurotransmitter function and cortico-subcortical circuitry1-4. Our recommended Schizophrenia test battery assesses the key cognitive domains often impaired in psychosis, as well as those that can be affected by interventions. This test battery captures all cognitive domains prioritised by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) sponsored Measurement and Treatment Research to Improve Cognition in Schizophrenia (MATRICS) program.

The tests within this battery have demonstrated sensitivity to neuropsychological impairment across the spread of disease severities from ‘at-risk’ mental state, through to established chronic schizophrenia5. They detect cognitive effects of many pharmacological treatments, including adjunctive agents, and have been shown to discriminate cognitive effects of first- and second-generation antipsychotic medications5. Measures from the battery also correlate with everyday function and disability6,7.

Measures

  • Working memory
  • Episodic memory
  • Executive function
  • Emotion recognition
  • Cognitive flexibility
  • Processing speed
  • Sustained attention

CANTAB Tests

Research

The tests within this battery have demonstrated sensitivity to the moderate to severe cognitive deficits in psychomotor function, sustained attention, memory and executive function observed in Schizophrenia.1

Effect sizes estimated from Aleman et al. (1999) and Chan et al (2010).

Key References

Barbato, A. Schizophrenia and Public Health. Nations for Mental Health. World Health Organization, 1998.

Barnett JH, Robbins TW, Leeson VC, Sahakian BJ, Joyce EM, Blackwell AD. Assessing cognitive function in clinical trials of schizophrenia. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2010 Jul;34(8):1161-77.

Kahn RS, Sommer IE. The neurobiology and treatment of first-episode schizophrenia. Mol Psychiatry. 2015 Feb;20(1):84-97.

Barnett JH, Sahakian BJ, Werners U, Hill KE, Brazil R, Gallagher O, Bullmore ET, Jones PB. Visuospatial learning and executive function are independently impaired in first-episode psychosis. Psychol Med. 2005 Jul;35(7):1031-41. 


  1. Selemon LD, Zecevic N. Schizophrenia: a tale of two critical periods for prefrontal cortical development. Transl Psychiatry. 2015 Aug 18;5:e623. doi: 10.1038/tp.2015.115.
  2. Narr KL, Leaver AM. Connectome and schizophrenia. Curr Opin Psychiatry. 2015 May;28(3):229-35.
  3. Zipursky RB, Lim KO, Sullivan EV, Brown BW, Pfefferbaum A. Widespread cerebral gray matter volume deficits in schizophrenia. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1992;49:195–205.
  4. Veijola J, Guo JY, Moilanen JS, Jääskeläinen E, Miettunen J, Kyllönen M, Haapea M, Huhtaniska S, Alaräisänen A, Mäki P, Kiviniemi V, Nikkinen J, Starck T, Remes JJ, Tanskanen P, Tervonen O, Wink AM, Kehagia A, Suckling J, Kobayashi H, Barnett JH, Barnes A, Koponen HJ, Jones PB, Isohanni M, Murray GK. Longitudinal changes in total brain volume in schizophrenia: relation to symptom severity, cognition and antipsychotic medication. PLoS One. 2014 Jul 18;9(7):e101689.
  5. Barnett JH, Robbins TW, Leeson VC, Sahakian BJ, Joyce EM, Blackwell AD. Assessing cognitive function in clinical trials of schizophrenia. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2010 Jul;34(8):1161-77.
  6. Barnett JH, Sahakian BJ, Werners U, Hill KE, Brazil R, Gallagher O, Bullmore ET, Jones PB. Visuospatial learning and executive function are independently impaired in first-episode psychosis. Psychol Med. 2005 Jul;35(7):1031-41.
  7. Prouteau A, Verdoux H, Briand C, Lesage A, Lalonde P, Nicole L, Reinharz D, Stip E. The crucial role of sustained attention in community functioning in outpatients with schizophrenia. Psychiatry Res. 2004 Dec 15;129(2):171-7.