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A Journal on Psychiatry, Psychology and Psychopharmacology

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Social Psychiatry
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Minerva Psichiatrica 2005 September;46(3):209-20


language: English

Verbal-performance intelligence quotient discrepancies on the Wechsler scales: are still useful? Literature review and clinical implications

Termine C., Balottin U., Nicoli F., Zoppello M., Lanzi G


Verbal-performance intelligence quotient (IQ) discrepancies on the Wechsler scales have been the subject of several studies. In most cases these studies have focused only on the cognitive aspects (visuospatial abilities, academic achievement, language), prevalently on behavioural and attentional aspects, or principally on psychopathological and psychosocial spheres. The relevant literature demonstrate the considerable complexity of the various neuropsychological, behavioural and psychopathological traits presented by subjects showing significant discrepancies between verbal and performance IQ on the Wechsler scales. Starting with a brief review of the literature on this topic, this study aims to offer various points for discussion about the clinical implications of Wechsler scale discrepancies and about the perspectives for research in syndromes and disorders closely associated with them (developmental right-hemisphere syndrome, non-verbal learning disabilities, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder). Taking into consideration new knowledge on this topic, our aim is to look in depth at the practical and theoretical implications of this scale, which is very widely used in clinical practice. A limitation of this study is that in recent editions of Wechsler tests (e.g. WISC-III, WAIS-III) new factors replaced verbal intelligence quotient (VIQ) and performance intelligence quotient (PIQ) scores. Unfortunately in Italy, as well as in other countries, WISC-R and WAIS-R are the only instruments available to assess cognitive skills. The new factors, however, could be extrapolated from specific subtests of at present available Wechsler scales in our clinical practice, as suggested by different authors.

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