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Conscious Cogn. 2012 Mar;21(1):247-57. doi: 10.1016/j.concog.2011.10.006. Epub 2011 Oct 29.

Self-images and related autobiographical memories in schizophrenia.

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Hôpitaux Universitaires de Strasbourg, Clinique Psychiatrique, Pôle Psychiatrie et Santé Mentale, Hôpital Civil 1 Place de l'Hôpital, 67091 Strasbourg Cedex, France.


Schizophrenia is a severe mental illness, which affects sense of identity. While the ability to have a coherent vision of the self (i.e., self-images) relies partly on its reciprocal relationships with autobiographical memories, little is known about how memories ground "self-images" in schizophrenia. Twenty-five patients with schizophrenia and 25 controls were asked to give six autobiographical memories related to four self-statements they considered essential for defining their identity. Results showed that patients' self-images were more passive than those of controls. Autobiographical memories underlying self-images were less thematically linked to these self-images in patients. We also found evidence of a weakened sense of self and a deficient organization of autobiographical memories grounding the self in schizophrenia. These abnormalities may account for the poor cohesiveness of the self in schizophrenia.

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