Verbal Skills in People with Schizophrenia Linked to Daily Functioning

One of the most debilitating elements of schizophrenia is the erosion of neurocognitive skills. People with schizophrenia often struggle with social adaptation, employment and other areas of daily functioning as a result of diminished neurocognition. Research has shown that verbal capacity is an effective measurement of intelligence and cognitive abilities in people who have neurocognitive disorders and those who do not. “In healthy populations, oral vocabulary scores correlate highly with overall measures of IQ and are considered the single best predictor of overall IQ,” said Matthew M. Kurtz of the Department of Psychology and Program in Neuroscience and Behavior at Wesleyan University. “Studies that have investigated the relationship of intellectual capacity and neurocognitive function have most often done so in the context of similarities and discrepancies between estimated premorbid and postmorbid IQ and their relationship to neurocognitive function revealed that individuals with schizophrenia with low estimated premorbid IQ and low current full-scale IQ show most severe  neurocognitive deficits with particularly marked impairment in executive function and memory in some studies, and attention, executive function, language and visuospatial function in others.”

Kurtz examined 165 clients with schizophrenia and evaluated them for superior, average or low crystallized verbal skills to determine how their verbal capacity affected their daily functioning. He found that although those with superior verbal skills tested within normal ranges of verbal capacity, they still had impaired processing, verbal learning and problem solving abilities. “These findings suggest that neurocognitive impairment is a core feature of the disorder, evident even at the upper extremes of crystallized verbal skill in schizophrenia and could be an underestimate of neuropsychological impairment relative to true premorbid IQ levels which remain unknown,”  said Kurtz. “Second, consistent with our hypotheses, measures of performance-based everyday life skills were highest in the superior verbal skill group, weaker in the average verbal skill group and were lowest in the very low verbal skill group.” He added, “Crystallized verbal skill in schizophrenia is related to the magnitude of impairment in neurocognitive function and performance-based skills in everyday life function.”

Kurtz, Matthew M., Jad Donato, and Jennifer Rose. “Crystallized Verbal Skills in Schizophrenia: Relationship to Neurocognition, Symptoms, and Functional Status.”Neuropsychology 25.6 (2011): 784-91. Print.

© Copyright 2011 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Norah


    December 10th, 2011 at 8:49 AM

    It must be so difficult to see a loved one go through the development of schizophrenia, and you know that on some leveel they have to be aware that there is something wrong going on too. I do hope that with studies like these that means that at least progress in being made on some front and that eventually there will be those who benefit from these advances.

  • jackson


    December 11th, 2011 at 11:55 AM

    hey has there ever been any correlation made between als and schizophrenia? they both take away so many of the same abilities that it is hard not to see some similarities between the two.

  • Rosie


    December 11th, 2011 at 11:59 AM

    So a depreciation in someone around you who has recently been diagnosed with it can be observed! People should know of things such as these because it will help them monitor affected people around them better!

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