Neuropsychological weaknesses in anorexia nervosa: set-shifting, central coherence, and decision making in currently ill and recovered women

Int J Eat Disord. 2012 Jul;45(5):685-94. doi: 10.1002/eat.22007. Epub 2012 Feb 13.


Objective: The purpose of this study is to examine set-shifting, central coherence, and decision making in women currently ill with anorexia nervosa (AN), women recovered from AN, and healthy control women. We aim to test whether these neuropsychological weaknesses persist after recovery, and explore relations between the impairments

Results: Compared to control women, ill and recovered women showed poor set-shifting and decision making. There were strong correlations between set-shifting and central coherence in the ill and recovered women. Decision making did not correlate with the other measures.

Discussion: The present findings suggest that impaired set-shifting and decision making are stable traits in women with AN. Because individual differences within these groups were large, a rigid thinking style is only present in a (sub)population of ill and recovered women. Decision-making performance is not related to a rigid thinking style, but further research in this area is warranted.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anorexia Nervosa / psychology*
  • Attention
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Decision Making*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Sense of Coherence*
  • Set, Psychology*