Structural brain correlates of cognitive function in schizophrenia: A meta-analysis

Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2022 Jan;132:37-49. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2021.11.034. Epub 2021 Nov 23.


Schizophrenia is characterized by cognitive impairments and widespread structural brain abnormalities. Brain structure-cognition associations have been extensively studied in schizophrenia, typically involving individual cognitive domains or brain regions of interest. Findings in overlapping and diffuse brain regions may point to structural alterations in large-scale brain networks. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis examining whether brain structure-cognition associations can be explained in terms of biologically meaningful brain networks. Of 7,261 screened articles, 88 were included in a series of meta-analyses assessing publication bias, heterogeneity, and study quality. Significant associations were found between overall brain structure and eight MATRICS-inspired cognitive domains. Brain structure mapped onto the seven Yeo functionally defined networks and extraneous structures (amygdala, hippocampus, and cerebellum) typically showed associations with conceptually related cognitive domains, with higher-level domains (e.g., executive function, social cognition) associated with more networks. These findings synthesize the extensive literature on brain structure and cognition in schizophrenia from a contemporary network neuroscience perspective and suggest that brain structure-cognition associations in schizophrenia may follow functional network architecture.

Keywords: Attention; Brain networks; Cognitive domains; Executive function; Memory; Social cognition; Speed of processing; Volume.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain
  • Cognition
  • Cognitive Dysfunction*
  • Executive Function
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Schizophrenia*

Grant support