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Positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia: past, present, and future.

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Mental Health Clinical Research Center, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, College of Medicine, Iowa City 52242.


The "group of schizophrenias," normally referred to with a single nominative, is phenomenologically heterogeneous. Its symptoms represent multiple psychological domains, including perception, inferential thinking, language, attention, social interaction, emotion expression, and volition. Studies of psychopathology have simplified this complex array in several ways; one has been a subdivision into positive and negative symptoms. Reports by our group and others suggest that the symptoms of schizophrenia fall into three natural dimensions: positive symptoms subdivided into psychotic and disorganized dimensions, while a third negative dimension also emerges. Since these dimensions have impressive consistency across studies, future work must examine their relationship to clinically relevant concepts such as prognosis or etiology and examine four different aspects: longitudinal course, neural mechanisms, relationship to treatment, and interrelationships in other pathological conditions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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