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Language in schizophrenia and aphasia: the relationship with non-verbal cognition and thought disorder

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Beth LittleORCiD, Dr Peter GallagherORCiD, Maggie Douglas, Helen Spencer, Dr Derya Cokal, Dr Felicity Deamer, Professor Douglas Turkington, Emeritus Professor Nicol Ferrier, Dr Stuart Watson



This is the final published version of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Taylor and Francis, 2019.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


Objective: To determine the relationship between language abnormalities and broader cognitive impairment and thought disorder by examining language and cognition in schizophrenia and aphasia (a primary language disorder). Methods: Cognitive and linguistic profiles were measured with a battery of standardised tests, and compared in a clinical population of n=50 (n=30 with schizophrenia and n=20 with aphasia) and n=61 non-clinical comparisons (n=45 healthy controls and n=16 non-affected first-degree relatives of patients with schizophrenia). Results: Both clinical groups showed linguistic deficits. Verbal impairment was more severe in participants with aphasia, whereas non-verbal performance was more affected in participants with schizophrenia. In schizophrenia, but not in aphasia, verbal and non-verbal performance were associated. Formal thought disorder was associated with impairment in executive function and in grammatical, but not naming, tasks. Conclusion: While patients with schizophrenia and aphasia showed language impairments, the nature and cognitive basis of these impairments may be different; language performance disassociates from broader cognitive functioning in aphasia but may be an intrinsic expression of a broader cognitive impairment in schizophrenia. Thought disorder may represent a core malfunction of grammatical processing. Results suggests that communicative ability may be a valid target in cognitive remediation strategies in schizophrenia.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Little B, Gallagher P, Zimmerer V, Varley R, Douglas M, Spencer H, Çokal D, Deamer F, Turkington D, Ferrier IN, Hinzen W, Watson S

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Cognitive Neuropsychiatry

Year: 2019

Volume: 24

Issue: 6

Pages: 389-405

Online publication date: 25/09/2019

Acceptance date: 04/09/2019

Date deposited: 10/09/2019

ISSN (print): 1354-6805

ISSN (electronic): 1464-0619

Publisher: Taylor and Francis


DOI: 10.1080/13546805.2019.1668758


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