Neurocognitive correlates of perfectionism: A multidimensional perspective
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At its core, perfectionism revolves around one’s self-evaluation in the context of performance outcomes. Although perfectionism has been subject to extensive research, scant literature on its effect on cognitive functioning is available, let alone in non-clinical populations. The aim of the present study is to utilize a comprehensive neuropsychological battery to assess cognitive functions among college students with high and low levels of perfectionism. Participants were 98 college students who were screened for clinical status, completed a neuropsychological battery, and assessed for perfectionism and related symptomatology. Results revealed that the high negative perfectionism group had significantly higher levels of depression and stress compared to the low negative perfectionism group. However, no group differences were found across neuropsychological outcomes. Gradient differences on clinical outcome measures were found when three groups characterized by high adaptive, high maladaptive, and mixed perfectionism were compared. However, no differences were found on neuropsychological tests. These findings suggest that higher levels of negative perfectionism are associated with significant psychopathological burden, however no evidence for an impact on cognitive functions was found. These results are particularly important in the context of the need to identify and treat students struggling with high levels of perfectionism and related psychopathological burden - which can be overlooked given that they present with intact cognitive and academic performance.