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Comprehension of Embedded Clauses in Schizophrenia With and Without Formal Thought Disorder

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Derya Cokal, Dr Stuart Watson


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Formal thought disorder (FTD) in schizophrenia (SZ) is clinically manifested primarily through language production, where linguistic studies have reported numerous anomalies including lesser use of embedded clauses. Here, we explored whether problems of language may extend to comprehension and clause embedding in particular. A sentence-picture matching task was designed with two conditions in which embedded clauses were presupposed as either true (factive) or not. Performance across these two conditions was compared in people with SZ and moderate-to-severe FTD (SZ + FTD), SZ with minimal FTD (SZ-FTD), first-degree relatives of people with SZ, and neurotypical controls. The SZ + FTD group performed significantly worse than all others in both conditions, and worse in the nonfactive than in the factive one. These results demonstrate language dysfunction in comprehension specific to FTD is a critical aspect of grammatical complexity and its associated meaning, which has been independently known to be cognitively significant as well.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Cokal D, Zimmerer V, Varley R, Watson S, Hinzen W

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: The Journal of nervous and mental disease

Year: 2019

Volume: 207

Issue: 5

Pages: 384-392

Print publication date: 01/05/2019

Acceptance date: 02/04/2016

ISSN (print): 0022-3018

ISSN (electronic): 1539-736X

Publisher: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins


DOI: 10.1097/NMD.0000000000000981

PubMed id: 30958421


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