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Conscious Cogn. 2013 Jun;22(2):430-41. doi: 10.1016/j.concog.2013.01.009. Epub 2013 Mar 1.

Anomalous self-experience in depersonalization and schizophrenia: a comparative investigation.

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Department of Clinical Psychology, Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology, Rutgers University, 152 Frelinghuysen Road, Piscataway, NJ 08854-8020, United States.


Various forms of anomalous self-experience can be seen as central to schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders. We examined similarities and differences between anomalous self-experiences common in schizophrenia-spectrum disorders, as listed in the EASE (Examination of Anomalous Self Experiences), and those described in published accounts of severe depersonalization. Our aims were to consider anomalous self-experience in schizophrenia in a comparative context, to refine and enlarge upon existing descriptions of experiential disturbances in depersonalization, and to explore hypotheses concerning a possible core process in schizophrenia (diminished self-affection, an aspect of "ipseity" or minimal self). Numerous affinities between depersonalization and schizophrenia-spectrum experience were found: these demonstrate that rather pure forms of diminished self-affection (depersonalization) can involve many experiences that resemble those of schizophrenia. Important discrepancies also emerged, suggesting that more automatic or deficiency-like factors--probably involving self/world or self/other confusion and erosion of first-person perspective--are more distinctive of schizophrenia-spectrum disorders.

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