Executive neurocognition, memory systems, and borderline personality disorder

Clin Psychol Rev. 2006 May;26(3):346-75. doi: 10.1016/j.cpr.2005.05.008. Epub 2005 Jun 29.


Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a common, disabling, and burdensome psychiatric condition. It is characterized by turbulent fluctuations of negative emotions and moods, unstable and conflictual interpersonal relationships, an incoherent and often contradictory sense of self, and impulsive, potentially lethal self-injurious behaviors. The neurobehavioral facets of BPD have not been extensively studied. However, clinical theoreticians and researchers have proposed that the symptoms and behaviors of BPD are, in part, associated with disruptions in basic neurocognitive processes. This review summarizes and evaluates research that has investigated the relationship between executive neurocognition, memory systems, and BPD. Three historical phases of research are delineated and reviewed, and the methodological and conceptual challenges this body of investigation highlights are discussed. Laboratory-based assessment of executive neurocognition and memory systems is integral to an interdisciplinary approach to research in BPD. Such an approach holds promise in elucidating the neurobehavioral facets, development, diagnostic boundaries, prevention, and optimal interventions for this debilitating and enigmatic disorder.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Borderline Personality Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Borderline Personality Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Cognition Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Cognition Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Memory Disorders / diagnosis
  • Memory Disorders / epidemiology*