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Cognitive control and discourse comprehension in schizophrenia.

  • Author(s): Boudewyn, Megan A
  • Carter, Cameron S
  • Swaab, Tamara Y
  • et al.

Cognitive deficits across a wide range of domains have been consistently observed in schizophrenia and are linked to poor functional outcome (Green, 1996; Carter, 2006). Language abnormalities are among the most salient and include disorganized speech as well as deficits in comprehension. In this review, we aim to evaluate impairments of language processing in schizophrenia in relation to a domain-general control deficit. We first provide an overview of language comprehension in the healthy human brain, stressing the role of cognitive control processes, especially during discourse comprehension. We then discuss cognitive control deficits in schizophrenia, before turning to evidence suggesting that schizophrenia patients are particularly impaired at processing meaningful discourse as a result of deficits in control functions. We conclude that domain-general control mechanisms are impaired in schizophrenia and that during language comprehension this is most likely to result in difficulties during the processing of discourse-level context, which involves integrating and maintaining multiple levels of meaning. Finally, we predict that language comprehension in schizophrenia patients will be most impaired during discourse processing. We further suggest that discourse comprehension problems in schizophrenia might be mitigated when conflicting information is absent and strong relations amongst individual words are present in the discourse context."There is no "centre of Speech" in the brain any more than there is a faculty of Speech in the mind.The entire brain, more or less, is at work in a man who uses language"William JamesFrom The Principles of Psychology, 1890"The mind in dementia praecox is like an orchestra without a conductor"Kraepelin, 1919.

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