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J Abnorm Psychol. 1990 Aug;99(3):215-21.

Facilitation of word recognition by semantic priming in schizophrenia.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Madison 53706.


Schizophrenic (n = 21), bipolar (n = 18), and normal control subjects (n = 21) were compared on a word recognition measure of semantic priming. The task involved the presentation of related, neutral, and unrelated word pairs; the second word (target word) in each pair was presented in a degraded form. Facilitation was defined as the accuracy of target word recognition for the related word pairs minus accuracy for the neutral word pairs. Titration, achieved by manipulating the degradation of the target word, was used to maintain each subject's overall accuracy for related and neutral items at approximately 50%. This procedure minimized the artifactual effects of overall accuracy on the difference score. Schizophrenics exceeded both normal control subjects and bipolar subjects on facilitation. Bipolar subjects did not differ from control subjects. The results support Maher's hypothesis that semantic priming effects are heightened in schizophrenia.

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