Journal Article

Working Memory in Schizophrenia: Transient “Online” Storage Versus Executive Functioning

William Perry, Robert K. Heaton, Eric Potterat, Tresa Roebuck, Arpi Minassian and David L. Braff

in Schizophrenia Bulletin

Published on behalf of Maryland Psychiatric Research Center

Volume 27, issue 1, pages 157-176
Published in print January 2001 | ISSN: 0586-7614
Published online January 2001 | e-ISSN: 1745-1701 | DOI:
Working Memory in Schizophrenia: Transient “Online” Storage Versus Executive Functioning

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Working memory has been described as the temporary “online” storage and the subsequent manipulation and retrieval of information. It has been suggested that the prefrontal cortex is a primary site of working memory. Schizophrenia patients, who are thought to have prefrontal cortical dysfunction, have demonstrated inconsistent deficits on a variety of verbal and spatial working memory tests. This has led to questions about how to define and measure working memory, whether these deficits are distinct to one cognitive domain, and what role factors such as intelligence and symptoms play in working memory performance. We compared schizophrenia patients to normal comparison subjects in four separate studies. Based upon the results we recommend that working memory tests be characterized as either transient “online” storage and retrieval tasks (where short-term storage and retrieval of information is required) or executive-functioning working memory tasks (where storage, manipulation, and retrieval of information is required). The importance of clearly identifying which distinct aspects of working memory are assessed is discussed.

Keywords: Working memory; executive functioning; schizophrenia; intellectual functioning; symptoms; frontal cortex

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

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