Short-term memory for serial order in schizophrenia: A detailed examination of error types

Brita Elvevåg, Daniel R. Weinberger, Terry E. Goldberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Cognitive deficits in schizophrenia have been associated with working memory problems. Schizophrenic patients (n = 24) and controls (n = 29) participated in simple short-term memory tasks, recalling a list of letters from the first to last item in the order of presentation. The authors hypothesized that deficient sequential representations would increase movement errors (e.g., ABCD being recalled as ABDC) or intrusion errors (e.g., ABCD being recalled as ABCX), whereas simple trace decay would lead to omission errors (e.g., ABCD being recalled as ABC_). Patients made disproportionately more omissions toward the end of 6-item lists. There were no group differences in movements or intrusions as a function of serial position. Schizophrenic patients' limited short-term memory span may be due to greater forgetting during recall and not to a selective deficit in the mechanisms responsible for maintaining serial order information.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)128-135
Number of pages8
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology

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