Multivariate Relationships Between Cognition and Brain Anatomy Across the Psychosis Spectrum

Amanda L. Rodrigue, Jennifer E. McDowell, Neeraj Tandon, Matcheri S. Keshavan, Carol A. Tamminga, Godfrey D. Pearlson, John A. Sweeney, Robert D. Gibbons, Brett A. Clementz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Background: Cognitive and structural brain abnormalities range from mild to severe in psychosis. The relationships of specific cognitive functions to specific brain structures across the psychosis spectrum is less certain. Methods: Participants (n = 678) with bipolar, schizoaffective, or schizophrenia psychoses and healthy control subjects were recruited via the Bipolar-Schizophrenia Network for Intermediate Phenotypes. The Schizo-Bipolar Scale was used to create a psychosis continuum (from purely affective to purely nonaffective). Canonical correlation between 14 cognitive measures and structural brain measures (gray matter volume, cortical thickness, cortical surface area, and local gyrification indices) for 68 neocortical regions yielded constructs that defined shared cognition–brain structure relationships. Canonical discriminant analysis was used to integrate these constructs and efficiently summarize cognition–brain structure relationships across the psychosis continuum. Results: General cognition was associated with larger gray matter volumes and thicker cortices but smaller cortical surface area in frontoparietal regions. Working memory was associated with larger volume and surface area in frontotemporal regions. Faster response speed was associated with thicker frontal cortices. Constructs that captured general cognitive ability and working memory and their relationship to cortical volumes primarily defined an ordered psychosis spectrum (purely affective, least abnormal through purely nonaffective, and most abnormal). A construct that captured general cognitive ability and its relationship to cortical surface area differentiated purely affective cases from other groups. Conclusions: General cognition and working memory with cortical volume deviations characterized more nonaffective psychoses. Alternatively, affective psychosis cases with general cognitive deficits had deviations in cortical surface area, perhaps accounting for heterogeneous findings across previous studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)992-1002
Number of pages11
JournalBiological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2018


  • Canonical correlation analysis
  • Canonical discriminant analysis
  • Cognition
  • Multivariate statistics
  • Psychosis
  • Schizo-Bipolar Scale
  • sMRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Biological Psychiatry


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