Journal of psychiatric research vol:40 issue:3 pages:200-6
OBJECTIVES: A vast amount of studies demonstrates the presence of psychomotor slowing in schizophrenia. The objective of the present study was to investigate whether this overall psychomotor slowing can be divided into distinct processes that differentially affect cognitive functioning in schizophrenia. METHODS: The pen-tip movements of 30 schizophrenic inpatients and 30 matched controls were digitally recorded during performance of the Symbol Digit Substitution Test (SDST) and analysed to differentiate matching time and writing time, representing the cognitive and sensorimotor component of slowing, respectively. In addition, the results were compared to each other and to the scores of traditional neuropsychological tests that assess domains such as memory and attention. RESULTS: Both matching time and writing time were longer in the schizophrenic patients relative to the controls but did not correlate. Only matching time correlated significantly with the conventional neuropsychological test results. CONCLUSIONS: Although schizophrenic patients display both sensorimotor and cognitive slowing, the two processes are unrelated. Furthermore, only the cognitive component was associated with most of the cognitive deficits as measured by traditional neuropsychological tests.