Preserved orbitofrontal function in first-episode schizophrenia: further evidence from the object alternation paradigm

J Nerv Ment Dis. 2008 Jan;196(1):67-70. doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e318160ea17.


Neuropsychological literature indicates that performance on Object Alternation Task (OAT) can be linked to the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC). Patients with chronic schizophrenia perform poorly on behavioral and neuropsychological tasks related to OFC functions. In a previous study using the Iowa Gambling Task, we found unimpaired performance in a sample of individuals with first-episode schizophrenia (FES) spectrum disorders. In this study, we aimed to extend our study of OFC functions by using the OAT paradigm, to determine whether there are abnormalities in the early phases of schizophrenia. We examined the performance of 70 patients with FES and 21 healthy controls on a computerized version of OAT. There were no significant differences between patients and control subjects with respect to the OAT. This finding suggests that the OFC function, as measured by decision-making tasks, is preserved in the early phases of schizophrenia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Decision Making / physiology*
  • Discrimination Learning / physiology
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe / physiopathology*
  • Gambling / psychology
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Memory, Short-Term / physiology
  • Neuropsychological Tests*
  • Orientation / physiology*
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology*
  • Perceptual Masking / physiology
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Schizophrenia / diagnosis
  • Schizophrenia / physiopathology*
  • Schizophrenic Psychology*
  • Semantics