Neuropsychology, social cognition and global functioning among bipolar, schizophrenic patients and healthy controls: Preliminary data

Elisabetta Caletti, Riccardo A. Paoli, Alessio Fiorentini, Michela Cigliobianco, Elisa Zugno, Marta Serati, Giulia Orsenigo, Paolo Grillo, Stefano Zago, Alice Caldiroli, Cecilia Prunas, Francesca Giusti, Dario Consonni, A. Carlo Altamura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study aimed to determine the extent of impairment in social and non-social cognitive domains in an ecological context comparing bipolar (BD), schizophrenic (SKZ) patients and healthy controls (HC). The sample was enrolled at the Department of Psychiatry of Policlinico Hospital, University of Milan; it includes stabilized SKZ patients (n = 30), euthymic bipolar patients (n = 18) and HC (n = 18). Patients and controls completed psychiatric assessment rating scales, the Brief Assessment of Cognition in Schizophrenia (BACS) and the Executive and Social Cognition Battery (ESCB) that contains both ecological tests of executive function and social cognition, in order to better detect cognitive deficits in patients with normal results in standard executive batteries. The three groups differed significantly for gender and substance abuse, however, the differences did not influence the results. BD patients showed less impairment on cognitive performance compared to SKZ patients, even in "ecological" tests that mimic real life scenarios. In particular, BD performed better than SKZ in verbal memory (p <0.0038) and BACS symbol coding (p <0.0043). Regarding the ESCB tests, in the Hotel task SKZ patients completed significantly less tasks (p <0.001), showed a greater number of errors in Multiple Errands Test (MET-HV) (p <0.0248) and a worse performance in Theory of Mind (ToM) tests (p <0.001 for the Eyes test and Faux pas test). Both patients' groups performed significantly worse than HC. Finally, significant differences were found between the two groups in GAF scores, being greater among BD subjects (p <0.001). GAF was correlated with BACS and ESCB scores showing the crucial role of cognitive and ecological performances in patients' global functioning.

Original languageEnglish
Article number661
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
Issue numberOCT
Publication statusPublished - Oct 17 2013


  • Bipolar disorder
  • Ecological tests
  • Neuropsychological deficits
  • Schizophrenia
  • Social cognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Neurology
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology


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