Cognitive control deficits in schizophrenia: Mechanisms and meaning

Tyler A. Lesh, Tara A Niendam, Michael J. Minzenberg, Cameron S Carter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

274 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although schizophrenia is an illness that has been historically characterized by the presence of positive symptomatology, decades of research highlight the importance of cognitive deficits in this disorder. This review proposes that the theoretical model of cognitive control, which is based on contemporary cognitive neuroscience, provides a unifying theory for the cognitive and neural abnormalities underlying higher cognitive dysfunction in schizophrenia. To support this model, we outline converging evidence from multiple modalities (eg, structural and functional neuroimaging, pharmacological data, and animal models) and samples (eg, clinical high risk, genetic high risk, first episode, and chronic subjects) to emphasize how dysfunction in cognitive control mechanisms supported by the prefrontal cortex contribute to the pathophysiology of higher cognitive deficits in schizophrenia. Our model provides a theoretical link between cellular abnormalities (eg, reductions in dentritic spines, interneuronal dysfunction), functional disturbances in local circuit function (eg, gamma abnormalities), altered inter-regional cortical connectivity, a range of higher cognitive deficits, and symptom presentation (eg, disorganization) in the disorder. Finally, we discuss recent advances in the neuropharmacology of cognition and how they can inform a targeted approach to the development of effective therapies for this disabling aspect of schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)316-338
Number of pages23
JournalNeuropsychopharmacology
Volume36
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2011

Keywords

  • cognition
  • cognitive control
  • disorganization
  • executive functioning
  • prefrontal cortex
  • schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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