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Psychol Med. 2001 Feb;31(2):221-9.

'Hyper-priming' in thought-disordered schizophrenic patients.

Author information

1
Klinik für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie, Universitäts-Krankenhaus Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

A number of studies have suggested that indirect semantic priming is enhanced in thought-disordered schizophrenics. However, research on direct semantic priming has produced conflicting results. The aim of the present study was to resolve some of the ambiguities of previous findings.

METHODS:

For the present study, 44 schizophrenic patients were split according to the presence of associative loosening into a positive thought-disordered (TD) and non-positive thought-disordered (NTD) group. Thirty healthy subjects and 36 psychiatric patients served as controls.

RESULTS:

Schizophrenics displayed increased indirect semantic priming compared with psychiatric controls. When subtyping the sample, TD-patients exhibited significantly enhanced indirect semantic priming compared with healthy and psychiatric controls as well as NTD-patients. Overall slowing was found to be independent of priming effects. Medication, age and chronicity of the schizophrenic illness did not modulate priming.

CONCLUSIONS:

In line with Spitzer and Maher it is inferred that disinhibited semantic networks underlie formal thought disorder in schizophrenia. For future research, it would be appropriate to: employ indirect semantic priming rather than direct semantic priming conditions; and, pay more attention to potential moderators of the priming effect, most importantly, the prime display duration and the length of the stimulus onset asynchrony.

PMID:
11232910
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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