There is widespread evidence that schizophrenic symptomatology is best represented by three syndromes (positive, negative, disorganized). Both the disorganized and negative syndrome have been found to correlate with several neurocognitive dysfunctions. However, previous studies investigated samples predominantly treated with typical neuroleptics, which frequently induce parkinsonian symptoms that are hard to disentangle from primary negative symptoms and may have inflated correlations with neurocognition. A newly developed psychopathological instrument called the Positive and Negative and Disorganized Symptoms Scale (PANADSS) was evaluated in 60 schizophrenic patients. Forty-seven participants treated with atypical neuroleptics performed several neurocognitive tasks.
A three-factor solution of schizophrenic symptomatology emerged. Negative symptomatology was associated with diminished creative verbal fluency and digit span backward, whereas disorganization was significantly correlated with impaired Stroop, WCST and Trail-Making Test B performance.
Data suggest that disorganization is associated with tasks that demand executive functioning. Previous findings reporting correlations between negative symptomatology and neurocognition may have been confounded by the adverse consequences of typical neuroleptics.