Word and tone working memory deficits in schizophrenia

Bruce E. Wexler, Alexander Stevens, Alexandra A. Bowers, Michael J. Sernyak, Patricia S. Goldman-Rakic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

141 Scopus citations


Background: Verbal memory deficits have been reported in many studies of patients with schizophrenia. We evaluated the specificity of these deficits by comparing patients and control subjects on several verbal and nonverbal auditory memory tests. Methods: Performance of stable, medicated outpatients with DSM-III-R diagnoses of schizophrenia (N = 38) was compared with that of healthy subjects (N = 39) on a word list immediate recall task, tone delayed discrimination tasks, and word and tone serial position tasks. Before memory testing, patients were divided into 2 groups based on their ability to perform normally on a screening test requiring pitch discrimination and sustained attention. Results: The nonverbal tests were more difficult for control subjects than the verbal tests. Despite this, patients who performed normally on the screening test of perception and attention performed normally on both nonverbal tests but had highly significant deficits on both verbal tests (P

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1093-1096
Number of pages4
JournalArchives of General Psychiatry
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1998


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Cite this

Wexler, B. E., Stevens, A., Bowers, A. A., Sernyak, M. J., & Goldman-Rakic, P. S. (1998). Word and tone working memory deficits in schizophrenia. Archives of General Psychiatry, 55(12), 1093-1096.