Shared impairment in associative learning in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder

Paolo Brambilla, Stefania Cerruti, Marcella Bellani, Cinzia Perlini, Adele Ferro, Veronica Marinelli, Daniele Giusto, Luisa Tomelleri, Gianluca Rambaldelli, Michele Tansella, Vaibhav A. Diwadkar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Schizophrenia (SCZ) and bipolar disorder (BD) share some cognitive commonalities. However, the role of associative learning, which is a cornerstone of human cognition mainly relying on hippocampus, has been under-investigated. We assessed behavioral performance during associative learning in a group of SCZ, BD and healthy controls (HC). Methods: Nineteen patients with SCZ (36 ± 8.1. years; 13 males, 6 females; all Caucasians), 14 patients with BD (41 ± 9.6. years; 5 males, 9 females; all Caucasians) and 45 HC (27.7 ± 6.9. years; 18 males, 27 females; all Caucasians) were studied. Learning was assessed using an established object-location paired-associative learning paradigm. Subjects learned associations between nine equi-familiar common objects and locations in a nine-location grid. Performance data were analyzed in a repeated measures analysis of variance with time (repeated) and group as factors. Results: Learning curves (performance=1±e±k-time) fitted to average performance data in the three groups revealed lower learning rates in SCZ and BD (k=0.17 and k=0.34) than HC (k=0.78). Significant effects of group (F=11.05, p

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1093-1099
Number of pages7
JournalProgress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2011


  • Glutamatergic system
  • Hippocampus
  • Memory
  • Neuropsychology
  • Plasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Pharmacology


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