There is a lack of information concerning the features of cognitive processes in personality disorders, as well as the brain mechanisms of the pathogenesis of these diseases. Luria’s neuropsychological approach demonstrated its heuristicity in estimating the cognitive status of patients with mental disorders and can be employed to identify the brain bases of non-psychotic mental disorders (including personality disorders).
The objective of this research is to study the features of neurocognitive functioning in patients with schizoid personality disorder and schizotypal personality disorder (against the norm), employing Luria’s neuropsychological methodology. Hypotheses: 1) While both types of personality disorders are related to schizophrenia spectrum disorders, the specificity of the neurocognitive functioning of each personality disorder will be observed in addition to general neuropsychological signs. Specific neuropsychological symptoms point to different brain deficits, which allows conclusion to be drawn regarding differences in the pathogenesis of each personality disorder; and 2) Luria’s methodology neuropsychology is adequate for the study of neurocognitive functioning in personality disorders.
The study was conducted using qualitative and quantitative analyses (according to Luria) of neuropsychological testing data in a group of fifty male patients aged 19,2±3,7 years with pathocharacteristic domain disorders. The group consisted of 30 schizoid personality disorder patients and 20 schizotypal personality disorder patients.
Statistically significant differences (p <0,005) in neurocognitive function (regulatory processes, memory, spatial function) between the healthy controls and patients with personality disorders were observed.Specific cognitive disorders pointing to the dysfunction of front-thalamoparietal connections were characteristic of both groups. Lateral differences were discovered for both patient groups. The neuropsychological symptoms related to left hemisphere dysfunction were characteristic of the patients with schizotypal personality disorder. Neurocognitive deficits related to right hemisphere deficiency characterized the patients with schizoid personality disorder.
Keywords: neuropsychology, cognitive functions, personality disorders, cerebral mechanisms, pathogenesis