Since the time of Kraepelin and Bleuler, it has been recognized that schizophrenia is associated with a profound and persistent cognitive impairment. This paper reviews the major clinical and epidemiological studies of cognitive functioning in schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, and presents several possible models to explain the association between cognitive impairment and psychosis. Cognitive impairment is present in the majority of patients with schizophrenia, and, in some, it is already evident in the premorbid stages of the disorder. This cognitive impairment is not secondary to psychotic symptoms, negative symptoms, or socioeconomic status. Cognitive impairment can also be observed in nonpsychotic family members of psychotic patients. On the basis of this evidence, it has been proposed that abnormal cognitive functioning can be considered as a possible causal risk factor for psychosis. Recent studies assessing the relationship between genetic background, cognition, brain function, and schizophrenia are presented here as an outline for future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-38
Number of pages8
JournalDialogues in Clinical Neuroscience
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2005


  • Cognitive function
  • Epidemiological study
  • Genetics
  • Risk factor
  • Schizophrenia


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