Cross-diagnostic analysis of cognitive control in mental illness: Insights from the CNTRACS consortium

Jason Smucny, Deanna M. Barch, James M. Gold, Milton E. Strauss, Angus W. MacDonald, Megan A. Boudewyn, John D Ragland, Steven M. Silverstein, Cameron S Carter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: In recent years, psychiatry research has increasingly focused on understanding mental illnesses from a cross-diagnostic, dimensional perspective in order to better align their neurocognitive features with underlying neurobiological mechanisms. In this multi-site study, we examined two measures of cognitive control (d-prime context and lapsing rate) during the Dot Probe Expectancy (DPX) version of the AX-Continuous Performance Task in patients with either schizophrenia (SZ), schizoaffective disorder (SZ-A), or Type I bipolar disorder (BD) as well as healthy control (HC) subjects. We hypothesized significantly lower d-prime context and higher lapsing rate in SZ and SZ-A patients and intermediate levels in BD patients relative to HC. Methods: 72 HC, 84 SZ, 77 SZ-A, and 58 BD patients (ages 18–56) were included in the final study sample. Results: Significant main effects of diagnosis were observed on d-prime context (F(3,279) = 9.59, p < 0.001) and lapsing (F(3,279) = 8.08, p < 0.001). A priori linear contrasts suggesting intermediate dysfunction in BD patients were significant (p < 0.001), although post-hoc tests showed the BD group was only significantly different from HC on d-prime context. Group results for d-prime context remained significant after covarying for lapsing rate. Primary behavioral measures were associated with mania and disorganization symptoms as well as everyday functioning. Conclusions: These findings suggest a continuum of dysfunction in cognitive control (particularly d-prime context) across diagnostic categories in psychiatric illness. These results further suggest that lapsing and d-prime context, while related, make unique contributions towards explaining deficits in cognitive control in these disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSchizophrenia Research
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019


  • Ax-cpt
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Cognitive control
  • D-prime context
  • Schizoaffective disorder
  • Schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


Dive into the research topics of 'Cross-diagnostic analysis of cognitive control in mental illness: Insights from the CNTRACS consortium'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this