Magnitude of impact of executive functioning and IQ on episodic memory in schizophrenia

Brandon E. Kopald, Kathryn M. Mirra, Michael F. Egan, Daniel R. Weinberger, Terry E. Goldberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Background: Research has implicated IQ and executive function (EF) as contributors to episodic memory impairments in schizophrenia. However, it has been difficult to quantitatively apportion the respective contributions of these factors. We conducted a series of analyses to objectively parse the associated variance and to determine to what extent episodic memory impairment in schizophrenia is independent of IQ and EF. Methods: Participants included 323 schizophrenia patients and 327 healthy controls from the National Insitute of Mental Health Sibling Study. Neurocognitive tests assessing IQ, EF, and episodic memory were administered. We examined group differences while controlling for IQ or EF in analyses of covariance, we used linear regression to quantify the amount of variance not explained by IQ or EF, and we matched control and patient subgroups on IQ or EF to determine if memory measures remained different. Results: Analyses of covariance revealed significant group differences between schizophrenia individuals and healthy control subjects across multiple episodic memory measures after controlling for IQ or EF. Furthermore, regressions with IQ and/or EF factors entered left more than 50% of variance in memory unaccounted. Follow-up true score variance analyses indicated that the majority of this variance was directly related to memory function. Matched subgroups also yielded subgroup differences on all memory measures. Conclusions: Findings across the multiple statistical strategies suggested that the mechanisms underlying the memory impairment in schizophrenia are fully attributable neither to IQ nor EF. Rather, they most likely reflect compromises in episodic memory processing itself and, by inference, the medial temporal system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)545-551
Number of pages7
JournalBiological psychiatry
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 15 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Episodic memory
  • executive functioning
  • intelligence
  • memory
  • prefrontal cortex
  • schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biological Psychiatry


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