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Schizophr Bull. 2007 Sep;33(5):1066-70. Epub 2007 Jul 13.

A social deafferentation hypothesis for induction of active schizophrenia.

Author information

1
Yale-New Haven Psychiatric Hospital, 184 Liberty Street, New Haven, CT 06519, USA. Ralph.hoffman@yale.edu

Abstract

The "social brain" of humans reflects widespread neural resources dedicated to understanding the conversational language, emotionality, states of mind, and intentions of other persons. A social deafferentation (SDA) hypothesis for induction of active schizophrenia is proposed. Analogous to hallucinations produced by sensory deafferentation, such as phantom limb, the SDA hypothesis assumes that high levels of social withdrawal/isolation in vulnerable individuals prompt social cognition programs to produce spurious social meaning in the form of complex, emotionally compelling hallucinations and delusions representing other persons or agents. Arguments against the SDA hypothesis are discussed, and predictions deriving from the hypothesis are offered.

PMID:
17631618
PMCID:
PMC2632342
DOI:
10.1093/schbul/sbm079
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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