Discuss psychological explanations for Schizophrenia


AO1 - Cognitive

  • Based on Hemsley's idea that schizophrenics cannot distinguish between incoming stimuli and already stored stimuli. This causes positive symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions
  • Frith argues that a break-down in meta-representational abillity is to blame for poisitve symptoms
  • Schizophrenics cannot distinguish/filter our irrelevant stimuli and so attempt to store things that people without Sz would subconsciously discard - attention deficit theory
  • Frith also suggests a biological basis: a breakdown in the pathways connecting the pre-frontal cortex (PFC) and the hippocampus that causes this breakdown in meta-representational ability
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AO2 - Cognitive

  • Fail to explain negative symptoms such as alogia or flattened effect, so only explain type 1 symptoms such as delusions and hallucinations, so may not be adequate to explain all types of schizophrenia
  • Reductionist as they attempt to explain a complicated disorder entirely with cognition, without consideration of external factors
  • Could be seen as unethical as puts all the blame on the Sz sufferer which can cause distress and worsen symptoms
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AO1 - Family Models

  • Browns expressed emotion theory - suggests Sz occurs when a member of the family begins to display mild symptoms such as paranoia/flattened effect and their family members respond with high levels of expressed emotion
  • This can include hostility, over concern etc which could lead to worsening symptoms for Sz sufferer and episodes.
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AO2 - Family Models

  • Support comes from schizophrenics released from hospital after an episode
  • Sz sufferers who experiences high levels of face-to-face contact upon release, relapse rates were higher. 
  • Relapse rates were even higher for those whose families had high levels of expressed emotion (EE), supporting the idea that this can trigger Sz episodes
  • Difficult to establish cause and effect are research was mostly correlational
  • Could be deterministic because suggests that high EE families will induce Sz, and doesnt take into account why many people with families with high EE do not develop Sz
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AO1 - Double bind theory

  • Developed by Bateman
  • Suggests that conflicting messages given to Sz children i.e. 'i love you' whilst shaking your head, can cause sz symptoms on later life
  • Suggests that it is the battle of emotions trying to escape the conflict that leads to symptoms such as delusions and hallucinations
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AO2 - Double bind theory

  • Relies on retrospective data so may not recall information correctly or non-sz sufferers may not remember them due to mroe rounded lives
  • Sz's are unlikely to recall information correctly due to delustions and incoherant due to mental illness so lacks internal validity
  • Deterministic as suggests that anyone who experiences high levels of conflicting messages as children will be likely to develop Sz
  • Study blames the mother which can be damagin to sz mothers
  • Assumes gender bias as it assumes females are much more likely to give double bind messages than males.
  • Also assumes alpha bias as it overstates the differences between genders
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