Chapter

The Nature of Symptoms

R. Walter Heinrichs

in In Search of Madness

Published in print May 2001 | ISBN: 9780195122190
Published online May 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780199865482 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195122190.003.0002
 The Nature of Symptoms

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This chapter analyzes the symptoms of schizophrenia, focusing on the “positive”triad of hallucinations, delusions, and thought disorder. Studies have shed light on the mental processes that mediate positive symptoms. The range of processes includes several forms of altered cognitive monitoring, the mind failing to supervise itself, plus a possible breakdown in attention. In addition, abnormally enhanced sensitivity to word meanings and relationships and a kind of impulsive tendency to construct meanings or make decisions too quickly appear to be involved in positive symptoms. Finally, some symptoms arise in conjunction with a bias in understanding the social world, a bias that places a negative value on the actions and motives of other people.

Keywords: schizophrenia; hallucinations; delusions; thought disorder; positive symptoms; sensitivity

Chapter.  13964 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neuroscience

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