The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of a new antipsychotic compound on negative symptoms and cognitive deficit in schizophrenia. Psychiatric symptoms and cognition were assessed in 25 patients with schizophrenia, at baseline and after they had taken risperidone for 4 weeks. The Positive and Negative Symptoms Scale (PANSS), the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST) and two WAIS sub-tests were used to assess the patients. After the study period, both negative and positive symptoms and also measures of cognitive performance improved significantly. The WCST results correlated with negative symptom scores before and after treatment. This suggests that negative symptoms and cognitive deficit have a common underlying substrate which is the target of the risperidone treatment. Our data show that risperidone may have a substantial effect on complex cognitive functions in schizophrenia, and they suggest that certain cognitive deficits are relatively dependent on the negative symptoms of this disorder.