Logical inference and visual memory frailty in patients suffering from borderline personality disorder: a contribution from cognitive psychopathology

F. Bosinelli 1, D. Cantone 2, M. Timpano Sportiello 3, D.M. Cammisuli 4

1 School of Neuropsychology, Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, Milan, Italy; 2 School of Comparative Psychotherapy, Florence, Italy; 3 Director, Hospital Psychology, Area vasta Nord Ovest Toscana, Pontedera, Pisa, Italy; 4 Department of Surgical, Medical, Molecular and Critical Area Pathology, Pisa University School of Medicine, Pisa, Italy


Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a severe psychiatric condition which causes an impairment of the individual’s global mental functioning and serious social stigma. BPD patients present typical affective and cognitive features. Our study aims at clarifying which memory and executive subdomains are primarily affected in BPD patients and at exploring the connection between executive functions and impulsive/disruptive behaviours.


25 Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) outpatients were administered Diagnostic Interview for BP-Section II investigating impulsive behaviours. Memory profile of BPD patients on Wechsler Memory Scale-IV was compared to that of a schizophrenia group (n. 25) and that of a non-clinical group (n. 50). BPD patients were also tested by Picture Interpretation Test, Stroop Test and Tower of London-Drexel version. A correlation between executive and clinical measures was performed, too.


BPD patients obtained lower scores than controls in all memory tasks, except for auditory memory. They also performed better than patients with schizophrenia in auditory memory, immediate and delayed memory, but not in the critical domains of visual memory and visual working memory. Logical inference in BPD was more deteriorated than planning abilities that were associated to impulsive behaviours.


Visuospatial memory domain is frequently impaired in BPD. Logical inference frailty might be referred to thought process disturbances whereas planning abilities would represent a crucial dimension of BPD construct.

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