Attention deficits in bipolar disorder: A comparison based on the Continuous Performance Test

Pablo Najt, David Glahn, Carrie E. Bearden, John P. Hatch, E. Serap Monkul, Simerjit Kaur, Veronica Villarreal, Charles Bowden, Jair C. Soares

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Although attentional deficits measured by Continuous Performance Tests (CPTs) have been observed in patients with bipolar disorder, their relationship with clinical state is not well understood. The identical pairs Continuous Performance Test (CPT-IP) shows particular promise as a measure sensitive to trait abnormalities in attentional function. In this study, the CPT-IP was administered to 27 patients with bipolar disorder (22 type I, 5 type II) and 25 demographically matched healthy comparison subjects, in order to assess the presence and nature of attentional deficits as a function of mood symptoms. Results showed significantly impaired CPT performance in bipolar patients compared with healthy subjects. Patients made fewer hits (p < 0.01), were slower to respond (p < 0.007), and had poorer discrimination (p < 0.05) and bias (p < 0.006) than comparison subjects. Severity of mania and depression was not correlated with any of the CPT measures. Our findings suggest that attentional dysfunction may be a trait deficit associated with bipolar illness. However, within-subjects longitudinal studies examining fluctuations in performance over time are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)122-126
Number of pages5
JournalNeuroscience Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 6 2005


  • Attention
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Continuous Performance Test
  • Mood disorders
  • Neurocognitive impairment
  • Trait marker

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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