Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society



Category fluency in first-episode schizophrenia


TANIA  GIOVANNETTI  a1 c1, RITA Z.  GOLDSTEIN  a2, MATTHEW  SCHULLERY  a3, WILLIAM B.  BARR  a4 and ROBERT M.  BILDER  a5
a1 Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
a2 Brookhaven National Laboratories, Upton, New York
a3 Widner University, Chester, Pennsylvania
a4 NYU Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, New York, New York
a5 Research Department, Hillside Hospital division of the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, Glen Oaks, New York

Abstract

Animal word list generation (ANWLG) was administered to 47 first-episode schizophrenia (FES) participants and 31 controls. Fifty-nine left temporal lobe epilepsy (LTLE) participants were included as a comparison group with known temporal lobe damage and expected semantic deficits. Semantic knowledge was assessed with the Association Index (AI), a measure of the semantic relatedness of all consecutive ANWLG responses. Neuropsychological tests of language and executive functioning were also administered. Results showed that both FES and LTLE groups generated fewer ANWLG responses than controls, but only the LTLE participants obtained a lower AI relative to controls. FES participants did not differ from controls on the AI. FES and LTLE groups produced fewer semantic subcategories (clusters), however, only the LTLE group produced fewer words per subcategory compared to controls (cluster size). FES participants produced a higher rate of perseverative responses compared to the other groups. Finally, correlation analyses showed that for FES participants both executive and language tests significantly correlated with ANWLG total responses, while the correlation between ANWLG and only 1 language test was significant for LTLE participants. Taken together, the results suggest that reduced ANWLG output in FES participants may be best conceptualized as a deficit in the executive component of word list generation (i.e., semantic search/access, response monitoring) or global cognitive impairment. (JINS, 2003, 9, 384–393.)

(Received October 16 2001)
(Revised April 22 2002)
(Accepted April 23 2002)


Key Words: Schizophrenia; Semantic knowledge; Animal word list generation; Category fluency; First episode schizophrenia.

Correspondence:
c1 Reprint requests to: Tania Giovannetti, Ph.D., Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute, Korman Building, Suite 203B, 1200 West Tabor Road, Philadelphia, PA 19141. E-mail: Giovannt@einstein.edu