Impaired working memory and normal sustained attention in borderline personality disorder
Article first published online: 6 MAR 2012
© 2011 John Wiley & Sons A/S
Volume 24, Issue 6, pages 349–355, December 2012
How to Cite
Lazzaretti, M., Morandotti, N., Sala, M., Isola, M., Frangou, S., De Vidovich, G., Marraffini, E., Gambini, F., Barale, F., Zappoli, F., Caverzasi, E. and Brambilla, P. (2012), Impaired working memory and normal sustained attention in borderline personality disorder. Acta Neuropsychiatrica, 24: 349–355. doi: 10.1111/j.1601-5215.2011.00630.x
- Issue published online: 7 NOV 2012
- Article first published online: 6 MAR 2012
- Accepted manuscript online: 31 OCT 2011 12:55PM EST
- Accepted for publication October 20, 2011
- borderline personality disorder;
- continuous performance test;
- N-back test;
- sustained attention;
- verbal working memory
Lazzaretti M, Morandotti N, Sala M, Isola M, Frangou S, De Vidovich G, Marraffini E, Gambini F, Barale F, Zappoli F, Caverzasi E, Brambilla P. Impaired working memory and normal sustained attention in borderline personality disorder.
Objective: Although reports in the literature describe deficits in working memory in borderline personality disorder (BPD), the evidence is limited and inconsistent. The aim of this study was to evaluate further this cognitive dimension and its clinical correlates in BPD.
Method: We compared the performance of 15 BPD patients to 1:1 matched healthy controls on verbal working memory as determined by the sequential letter N-back test and sustained attention as measured using the continuous performance test (CPT).
Results: BPD patients performed significantly worse on the N-back test compared to healthy controls (p < 0.05), but not on the CPT. The N-back deficit was more pronounced and significant in the 3-back condition and inversely correlated with impulsivity.
Conclusions: These results suggest the presence of working memory deficits in BPD that may be linked to greater impulsivity and sustained by impairment in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex.