Anterior cingulate metabolism correlates with Stroop errors in paranoid schizophrenia patients

Thomas E Nordahl, Cameron S Carter, Ruth E. Salo, Louis Kraft, Juliana Baldo, Shahriar Salamat, Lynn Robertson, Natalia Kusubov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Using [O-15]-H2O PET Carter et al. (1997) reported that medicated patients with schizophrenia performing computerized single trial Stroop (1935) showed a reduction in the anterior cingulate activation response to the more attention demanding, incongruent Stroop condition. In that study, both patients and controls also showed a direct correlation between anterior cingulate activation and errors committed during incongruent trials of the task. In this study we follow up with an examination of paranoid schizophrenia outpatients and controls with very high resolution positron emission tomography (PET) and the longer half-life tracer [F-18]-fluorinated deoxyglucose (FDG) (Valk et al. 1990). All subjects (10 controls and 9 paranoid schizophrenia patients) were studied with FDG-PET while performing a computerized trial-by-trial version of the Stroop task during the uptake phase of the tracer (Carter et al. 1992). Results: As in previous studies using the single trial Stroop, patients were able to perform the task but made more color-naming errors during incongruent trials than controls. The patients in the present study showed a trend towards increased metabolic activity in the right anterior cingulate cortex. In the patient group, but not in controls, the anterior cingulate glucose metabolic rate correlated positively with the total incongruent trial errors. Conclusion: These results are consistent with the hypothesis that the anterior cingulate plays a performance-monitoring role during human cognition. This study does not rule out a reduction in error sensitivity in this region of the brain in schizophrenia, as other studies have suggested, however the data show that in unmedicated patients with the paranoid subtype this function is preserved to some extent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)139-148
Number of pages10
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2001


  • Anterior cingulate
  • Dopaminergic
  • Noradrenergic
  • PET
  • Regional glucose metabolism
  • Stroop task

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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