Problem-solving and spatial working memory in patients with schizophrenia and with focal frontal and temporal lobe lesions

T M Rushe, R G Morris, E C Miotto, J D Feigenbaum, P W R Woodruff, R M Murray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Problem-solving ability was investigated in 25 DSM-IIIR schizophrenic (SC) patients using the Tower of Hanoi (TOH) task. Their performance was compared to that of: (1) 22 patients with neurosurgical unilateral prefrontal lesions, 11 left (LF) and 10 right hemisphere (RF); (2) 38 patients with unilateral temporal lobectomies, 19 left (LT) and 19 right (RT); and (3) 44 matched control subjects. Like the RT and LF group, the schizophrenics were significantly impaired on the TOH. The deficit shown by the schizophrenic group was equivalent whether or not the problems to be solved included goal-subgoal conflicts, unlike the LF group who were impaired specifically on these problems. The nature of the SC deficit was also distinct from that of the RT group, in that the problem-solving deficit remained after controlling for the effects of spatial memory performance. This study indicates, therefore, that neither focal frontal nor temporal lobe damage sustained in adult life is a sufficient explanation for the problem-solving deficits found in patients with schizophrenia. (C) 1999 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-33
Number of pages13
JournalSchizophrenia research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 04 May 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Neurology
  • Psychology(all)

Cite this