Dual-task information processing in schizotypal personality disorder: Evidence of impaired processing capacity

Philip D. Harvey, Abraham Reichenberg, Michelle Romero, Eric Granholm, Larry J. Siever

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Working memory theories heavily rely on the concept of processing resources and the their efficient deployment. Some recent work with schizophrenia- spectrum patients has suggested that many associated cognitive impairments may be reduced to deficits in working memory, possibly related to reductions in information-processing capacity resources. In this study, 38 patients with schizotypal personality disorder (SPD), 22 patients with other personality disorders, and 14 healthy comparison participants performed a dual-task processing assessment that was designed specifically for use in this type of study. Participants recalled lists of digits at their predetermined maximum digit span and performed box-checking tests, first alone and then in a dual-task format. Instructions included equal prioritization of both tasks. SPD patients had significantly shorter digit spans, and they also showed more deterioration on both tasks. Performance operating characteristics curves indicated that SPD patients' reduced performance was not due to abnormal resource allocation strategies leading to strategic failures. The authors discuss the implications of these processing capacity limitations for understanding both the signature of cognitive impairment within the schizophrenia spectrum and general abnormalities in working memory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)453-460
Number of pages8
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Dual-task methods
  • Information processing capacity
  • Schizophrenia spectrum
  • Working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology


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