We assessed major cognitive domains in symptom-free children of patients with schizophrenia compared to the healthy children of parents with no psychopathology using neurocognitive tests. We hypothesized that, offspring at high-risk for schizophrenia would have significant impairment in major domains: attention, memory, verbal-linguistic ability and executive functions. Thirty symptom-free children (17-males, 13-females: intelligence quotient = 99.6 +/- 13.6: age = 12.69 +/- 2.32 and education = 5.8 +/- 2.3 years) having a parent diagnosed with schizophrenia and 37 healthy children matched for gender (19-males, 18-females), IQ (106.05 +/- 14.70), age (12.48 +/- 2.58) and years of education (6.0 +/- 2.5) were evaluated. The study group showed significant poor performance in cognitive domains, such as working memory (assessed with Auditory consonant trigram test), focused attention (Stroop test), attention speed (Trail making test), divided attention (Auditory consonant trigram test), executive functions (Wisconsin card sorting test), verbal fluency (Controlled word association test) and declarative memory (Rey verbal learning and Short-term memory test). However, no group differences were detected either on verbal attention (Digit span forward test) or sustained attention (TOVA, a continuous performance task): the latter as consistently reported to be a predictor of schizophrenia. In order to determine the cognitive endophenotype of schizophrenia, it seems more rational to conduct comprehensive evaluation of neurocognitive domains in well-matched groups via using sufficiently challenging tests to detect slight deficits. In addition, longitudinal studies with a larger sample size evaluating neurocognitive functions combined with genetic analysis may provide clues about explaining the genetic background of the disorder within the endophenocognitype concept and serve as new targets for early interventions. (C) 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.