Abstract

A body of neuropsychological research revealed cognitive impairments in patients suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Only few investigations addressed the question of how specific these impairments are. The present study compared the performances of 19 subjects with OCD to 19 subjects with schizophrenia and 19 healthy controls on neuropsychological tasks across the main cognitive domains (memory, attention, visual spatial and executive functioning). For purposes of data-reduction, single test measures of the test battery applied were aggregated into eight cognitive domain scores. Contrary to our expectation we found comparable performance profiles of obsessive-compulsive (OC) and schizophrenia subjects across domains with impairments primarily affecting simple attentional skills and memory skills. However, deficits of subjects with schizophrenia were greater in magnitude than those of subjects with OCD on all domains assessed. Elevated depression scores exerted a relevant impact on performance deficits in the OC but not in the schizophrenia sample.