Abnormalities of mental rotation of hands associated with speed of information processing and executive function in chronic schizophrenic patients
Deficits in mental imagery ability have been reported in patients with schizophrenia. However, there is scarce evidence about the correlation between impairment in mental rotation and other cognitive deficits in the patients. The aim of this study was to assess mental rotation ability, along with other measures of cognitive function in patients with schizophrenia.
The performance of 29 patients with schizophrenia was compared with 29 healthy controls. Mental rotation was measured with the Hand Rotation Task, and cognitive functions were measured with the Brief Assessment of Cognition in Schizophrenia (BACS).
On Hand Rotation Task, the patients were significantly slower and less accurate compared to controls. Moreover, mental rotation accuracy was significantly correlated with all the BACS domains except verbal memory. In multiple regression analysis, the two BACS subscales, Tower of London and Symbol Coding tasks, were significant predictors and accounted for 41% of the variance in accuracy in the patients.
These results support previous findings showing dysfunction of the posterior parietal cortex in schizophrenia, which is involved in general mental rotation, as well as other cognitive processes.