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Cogn Neuropsychiatry. 2011 Jan;16(1):1-39. doi: 10.1080/13546800903442314. Epub 2010 Mar 1.

A general neuropsychological model of delusion.

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L'Universite du Quebec a Montreal, Montreal, Canada. Braun.Claude@UQAM.CA



Neurocognitive accounts of delusion have traditionally highlighted perceptual misrepresentation, as the primary trigger in addition to other cognitive deficits that maintain the delusion. Here, a general neurocognitive model of delusional disorder (DSM-IV) is proposed, not so much based on perceptual or cognitive deficits after right hemisphere damage as on cognitive propensities, specifically excessive inferencing (especially jumping to conclusions) and excessive reference to the self, due to left hemisphere overactivity.


The functional imaging, topographic EEG, and experimental imaging literatures on delusional disorder are reviewed, and 37 previously published cases of postunilateral lesion delusion (DSM-IV type, grandeur, persecution, jealousy, erotomania, or somatic), are reviewed and analysed multivariately.


Functional imaging and EEG topography data were slightly more indicative of left hemisphere overactivity in delusional disorder. In addition, 73% of the postunilateral lesion cases (χ(2)=7.8, p=.005) of delusional disorder (DSM-IV type) had a right hemisphere lesion, whereas only 27% had a left hemisphere lesion.


Left hemisphere release appears to be a more primary cause of delusional disorder than right hemisphere impairment, the latter merely entailing loss of inhibition of delusional beliefs. We propose that most patients with DSM-IV diagnoses of delusional disorder could be afflicted by excessive left hemisphere activity, but further research is necessary.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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