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Academic Paper

Title: Semiotic cognitive breakdown in schizophrenia and schizotypal personality disorder
Author: Giancarlo Buoiano
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Institution: Università di Pisa
Author: Betti Mario
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Institution: Università di Pisa
Author: Bongioanni Paolo
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Institution: Università di Pisa
Linguistic Field: Neurolinguistics; Cognitive Science
Abstract: So far studies on schizophrenic language have been rather vague and focalized mainly on factors of frequency and context processing. Furthermore, schizophrenic language is not generally considered at the light of specific brain lesions already examined in aphasiology. /L/We have meant to fill this gap by analyzing language impairments in schizophrenia from a neurolinguistic point of view, by developing a Neurolinguistic Modular Theory partly based on previous studies and partly innovative. /L/We have implemented and used a battery of tests specifically aimed to assess which kind of language impairments are detectable in schizophrenia: we have been able to evaluate enough accurately the degree of syntactic, semantic and linguistic-perceptional impairment in schizophrenia. Eight (6 paranoid and 2 disorganized) schizophrenics and 2 patients with schizotypal personality disorder (SPD) have been tested. As age- and sex-matched control group, we studied 10 physically and psychically healthy subjects with no personal or familiar history of neuropsychiatric disorders. /L/The schizophrenic patients performed significantly worse than the controls in all the tests. Verbs, syntax and semantic-syntactic coindexation were highly impaired, as well as context processing. These results point to a severe semiotic breakdown in schizophrenia and SPD. We explain such findings in terms of the reported fronto-striatal and frontal derangements in schizophrenics. Furthermore, since the patients performing worse were the most thought-disordered, a link between specific language brain areas and semiotic cognitive breakdown in schizophrenia can be likely: It is important to note that Formal Thought Disorders (FTD) are not, per se, a marker of linguistic deficits: for instance, a patient with positive FTD could build a perfectly normal syntax./L//L/References/L//L/1.Chapman LJ, Chapman JP, Miller GA. A Theory of Verbal Behavior in Schizophrenia. In BA Maher (Ed.), Progress in Experimental Personality Research, Vol. I, 135-167, San Diego (CA), Academic Press (1964)./L/2.Pashkovskii VE. [Linguo-statistical indices of speech production of schizophrenics]. Zh Nevropatol Psikhiatr Im S S Korsakova, 87: 1056-1059 (1987)./L/3.Barrelet L, Piquet, Corradini S. [Schizophrenia and language disorders]. Encephale, 19: 533-540 (1993)./L/4.Elvevaag B, Weinstock DM, Akil M, Kleinman JE, Goldberg TE. A comparison of verbal fluency tasks in schizophrenic patients and normal controls. Schizophrenia Research, 51: 119-126 (2001).
Type: Individual Paper
Status: Completed
Publication Info: Schizophrenia Research, vol. 60/2003

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