Objective: Cognitive impairment, more often involving memory and/or executive functions, has been reported in obsessive–compulsive (OC) patients. The present study aimed at: i) replicating, in an independent sample, previous findings by our group showing neurocognitive slowness limited to executive tasks; ii) assessing the influence of deficit in general cognitive abilities on executive dysfunction.
Method: A comprehensive neuropsychological battery was administered to 30 drug-free OC patients and 30 healthy controls.
Results: Obsessive–compulsive patients performed worse on visuospatial tests, were slower on executive tasks, and performed worse on the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test. After covarying for Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Revised performance Intellectual Quotient, a lesser degree of executive dysfunction was observed.
Conclusion: Obsessive–compulsive patients exhibit an impairment of executive functions, especially when tasks also require visuospatial abilities. The impairment might reflect a hyperactivity of the executive control.