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PSYCHOLOGY STUDY NOTES: SCHIZOPHRENIA

SYMPTOMS AND DIAGNOSIS

Positive symptoms:

Hallucinations, usually auditory

Delusions

Disordered speech and thinking

Negative symptoms:

Affective flattening (lack of emotional expression)

Alogia (poverty of speech)

Avolition (loss of motivation/goaldirected behaviour)

Catatonia / psychomotor disturbances



Subtypes of schizophrenia

Paranoid ­ hallucinations and delusions are predominant symptoms

Catatonic…

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Interrater reliability

Whaley (2001) found interrater reliability correlations in the diagnosis of schizophrenia as low
as 0.11.

Motjabi & Nicholson (1995) established a correlation of just 0.4 between 50 psychiatrists in
the US when rating their classifications of bizarre and nonbizarre behaviour ­ suggests that
positive symptoms are not as…

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One patient keeping a diary of their experiences was noted by nurses as exhibiting signs of
`obsessive writing behaviour' ­ suggests that once given a diagnosis, almost everything the
individual does is seen as a symptom.




BIOLOGICAL EXPLANATIONS FOR SCHIZOPHRENIA

THE DOPAMINE HYPOTHESIS

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter which plays a…

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Copolov & Crook (2000) ­ neuroimaging research has so far failed to provide convincing
evidence of dopamine activity in the brains of individuals with schizophrenia.

This theory is reductionist ­ it reduces a complex disorder to a relatively simple level of
explanation and neglects all other potential influences (e.g. stress…

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Kendler et al. (1985) found that firstdegree relatives of those with schizophrenia are 18 times
more at risk than the general population.

Kety et al (1962) Copenhagen HighRisk Study ­ Longitudinal family study identified
children of mothers with schizophrenia and control group of children with `healthy' mothers
matched on age,…

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DIATHESISSTRESS MODEL

The diathesisstress model of schizophrenia suggests that some individuals are born with a genetic
predisposition to develop schizophrenia, but that environmental stress is required to trigger the disorder.
This may explain why not all individuals with a genetic vulnerability (e.g. a close relative with a diagnosis
of schizophrenia)…

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Cause vs. effect ­ enlarged ventricles may be caused by the use of antipsychotic medication
Lyon et al. (1981) found that as the dose of medication increased, the density of brain tissue
decreased, leading to enlarged ventricles.



PSYCHOLOGICAL EXPLANATIONS FOR SCHIZOPHRENIA

DOUBLE BIND THEORY

States that schizophrenia is a consequence…

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Research support

Linszen et al. (1997) ­ high levels of EE are most likely to influence relapse rates a patient
returning to a family with high EE is about four times more likely to relapse than those returning
to families with low EE.

Kalafi & Torabi (1996) found that high…

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COGNITIVE BIASES refer to selective attention, and may explain some behaviours traditionally regarded
as symptoms of schizophrenia. Delusions may be associated with specific biases in reasoning about
and explaining social situations. Auditory hallucinations may occur because schizophrenics may
mistake their `inner voice' for speech from an external source for example,…

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Helmsley (1993) theorised that schizophrenia is a result of the individual being able to process
information or activate schemas quickly and unconsciously, leading to an inability to focus
attention selectively. This causes them to simply let in too much irrelevant information, meaning
they are inundated by external stimuli which they…

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