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Schizophr Res. 2013 Oct;150(1):88-92. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2013.07.035. Epub 2013 Aug 8.

Field visual perspective during autobiographical memory recall is less frequent among patients with schizophrenia.

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Unité INSERM 666, Physiopathologie et Psychopathologie Cognitive de la Schizophrénie, Hôpitaux Universitaires de Strasbourg, 1 place de l'Hôpital, BP 426, 67091 Strasbourg Cedex, France; Université de Strasbourg, Faculté de Médecine, 4 rue Kirchleger, 67000 Strasbourg, France.


There is growing interest in clinical research regarding the visual perspective adopted during memory retrieval, because it reflects individuals' self-attitude towards their memories of past personal events. Several autobiographical memory deficits, including low specificity of personal memories, have been identified in schizophrenia, but visual perspective during autobiographical memory retrieval has not yet been investigated in patients. The aim of this study was therefore to investigate the visual perspective with which patients visualize themselves when recalling autobiographical memories and to assess the specificity of their memories which is a major determinant of visual perspective. Thirty patients with schizophrenia and 30 matched controls recalled personal events from 4 life periods. After each recall, they were asked to report their visual perspective (Field or Observer) associated with the event. The specificity of their memories was assessed by independent raters. Our results showed that patients reported significantly fewer Field perspectives than comparison participants. Patients' memories, whether recalled with Field or Observer perspectives, were less specific and less detailed. Our results indicate that patients with schizophrenia adopt Field perspectives less frequently than comparison participants, and that this may contribute to a weakened sense of the individual of being an actor of his past events, and hence to a reduced sense of self. They suggest that this may be related to low specificity of memories and that all the important aspects involved in re-experiencing autobiographical events are impaired in patients with schizophrenia.


Autobiographical memory; Field perspective; Memory specificity; Observer perspective; Schizophrenia; Visual perspective

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