Cognitive functioning in depersonalization disorder

J Nerv Ment Dis. 2007 Dec;195(12):983-8. doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e31815c19cd.


Depersonalization disorder (DPD) is a dissociative disorder characterized by a subjective sense of unreality and detachment, and has been associated with deficits in perception and short-term memory. In this study, 21 DPD and 17 healthy comparison participants free of psychiatric disorders were administered a comprehensive neuropsychologic battery. The groups did not differ in full-scale, verbal, and performance IQ (Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale), in working memory (Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test), or in selective attention (Digit Span with Distracters). The DPD group performed significantly worse on immediate visual and verbal recall (Wechsler Memory Scale, Revised), but not on delayed recall. Dissociation severity was significantly correlated with processing slowness and distractibility. We conclude that DPD is associated with cognitive disruptions in early perceptual and attentional processes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / diagnosis
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Attention*
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Cognition Disorders / psychology
  • Depersonalization / diagnosis*
  • Depersonalization / psychology
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Depression / psychology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Dissociative Disorders / diagnosis
  • Dissociative Disorders / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intelligence
  • Male
  • Memory, Short-Term*
  • Neuropsychological Tests / statistics & numerical data
  • Perceptual Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Perceptual Disorders / psychology
  • Psychometrics
  • Reaction Time
  • Reality Testing*
  • Retention, Psychology