Neuroanatomical correlates of formal thought disorder in schizophrenia

Kenneth L. Subotnik, George Bartzokis, Michael F. Green, Keith H. Nuechterlein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Introduction: We attempted to extend findings of a relationship between formal thought disorder and left superior temporal gyrus (STG) volume in schizophrenia by examining two indices of formal thought disorder. Methods: Three brain regions of interest were selected from magnetic resonance imaging slices in 15 young, right-handed, male schizohrenia patients: the STG, the anterior hippocampus, and the amygdala. Thought disorder was assessed using the Bizarre-Idiosyncratic Thinking (BIZ) scale, a sensitive measure of formal thought disorder based on responses to a standard set of stimuli, and the BPRS Conceptual Disorganization item, a global rating based on a clinical interview. Results: BIZ ratings of thought disorder were significantly correlated with the left STG volume (Spearman r = -.73) and with the right STG volume (Spearman r = -.58). BIZ ratings were not significantly correlated with either the left or right anterior hippocampus or amygdala volumes. The BPRS Conceptual Disorganisation rating was not significantly related to the STG, anterior hippocampus, or amygdala volumes. Conclusions: This study confirms the previously reported association between the left STG and formal thought disorder, and suggests that detection of this relationship may be facilitated by use of highly sensitive formal thought disorder assessments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-88
Number of pages8
JournalCognitive Neuropsychiatry
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2003
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Correspondence should be addressed to Kenneth L. Subotnik, Ph.D., Associate Research Psychologist, UCLA Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, 300 UCLA Medical Plaza, Room 2240, Los Angeles, CA 90095-6968, USA; e-mail: This research was supported in part by National Institute of Mental Health Grants MH30911, MH37705, and MH14584, the Research and Psychiatry Services of the Department of Veterans Affairs, the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression (NARSAD), the Scottish Rite Schizophrenia Research Program, and the Marie Wilson Howells Endowment. We would like to acknowledge the UCLA Aftercare Research Program patients who participated in the research. We also gratefully acknowledge consultation from Jim Mintz, Ph.D., and Sun Hwang, MS, MPH, of the Methodology and Statistical Support (MASS) Unit of the UCLA Clinical Research Center for Schizophrenia (directed by Robert P. Liberman, MD). We thank Praveen Raja, Ph.D., who helped in the collection and recording of the symptomatology measures, and Marguerite Callinan who helped in collecting the MRI data.


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