Declarative memory and WCST-64 performance in subjects with schizophrenia and healthy controls.
ABSTRACT The Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST) is a set-switching task used extensively to study impaired executive functioning in schizophrenia. Declarative memory deficits have also been associated with schizophrenia and may affect WCST performance because continued correct responding depends on remembering the outcome of previous responses. This study examined whether performance in visual and verbal declarative memory tasks were associated with WCST performance. Subjects comprised 30 patients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder (SCZ) and 30 demographically matched healthy controls (CON) who were tested on the WCST, the Benton Visual Retention Test (BVRT), the California Verbal Learning Test (CVLT), and the Continuous Performance Test (CPT). SCZ subjects showed significant correlations between visual and verbal declarative memory and performance on the WCST-64 that were in the hypothesized direction such that worse memory performance was associated with worse performance on the WCST. CON subjects did not show a significant relationship between visual or verbal memory and WCST-64 performance. Fisher's r to z transformations indicated that the associations between declarative memory and WCST-64 performance in the SCZ subjects differed significantly from those of CON subjects. The findings suggest that interpretations of WCST-64 scores for subjects with schizophrenia should be considered in light of their declarative memory functioning.