Production of atypical category exemplars in patients with schizophrenia

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Previous studies have revealed semantic memory impairments in patients with schizophrenia, and suggested that certain of these impairments were related to thought disorganization. One explanation offered for this is a broadening of the boundaries of semantic categories in schizophrenia. We selected 16 semantic categories, and required a sample of 41 schizophrenia patients and 43 healthy control subjects to produce one exemplar from each category. The typicality of the subjects' responses was rated. The exemplars produced by the patients were on average less typical than those produced by the healthy controls. No significant association between typicality of the response and thought disorganization was revealed in the patient sample. Affective flattening, alogia, and anhedonia were significantly and inversely associated with the typicality score, that is, higher ratings of these symptoms were associated with more typical responses. Our results suggest that a broadening of semantic category boundaries is observed in patients with schizophrenia, but is unrelated to thought disorganization. This semantic abnormality is not a feature of the patients with high ratings of certain negative symptoms. (JINS, 2010, 16, 822-828.)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)822 - 828
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the International Neuropsychological Society
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2010


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