Neuropsychological correlates of schizotypy: a systematic review and meta-analysis of cross-sectional studies

Introduction: Cognitive deficits can precede the onset of psychotic episodes and predict the onset of the illness in individuals with schizotypy traits. In some studies, high levels of schizotypy were associated with impairments in memory, attention, executive functions, and verbal fluency. This review provides a more comprehensive understanding of cognitive impairments related to schizoytpy.

Methods: A systematic review of “schizotypy and neuropsychological measures” was conducted, and it retrieved 67 studies. All papers with case-control design showing means and standard deviations from neuropsychological measures were included in a meta-analysis (n = 40). A comparison between our finding and another metaanalysis with patients with schizophrenia-spectrum disorders [Fatouros-Bergman, H., Cervenka, S., Flyckt, L., Edman, G., & Farde, L. (2014). Meta-analysis of cognitive performance in drugnaive patients with schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Research. doi:10.1016/j.schres.2014.06.034] was performed to study the similarities on the MATRICS domains between the two disorders.

Results: We found evidence of worse functioning of verbal and visual-spatial working memory, and of language in people with schizotypy or with schizotypal traits. Working memory deficit is present in both schizotypy and schizophrenia with larger effect sizes compared to other domains.

Conclusions: Working memory deficit might be a cognitive marker of the risk of psychosis. Interventions targeting cognitive deficits early may be crucial to the prevention of psychosis.