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Comprehension of metaphors in patients with schizophrenia-spectrum disorders



Comprehension of metaphors in patients with schizophrenia-spectrum disorders



Comprehensive Psychiatry 55(4): 928-937



Metaphors, mainly proverbs and idiomatic expressions of ordinary life are commonly used as a model for concretism. Previous studies have shown impaired metaphor comprehension in patients with schizophrenia-spectrum disorders compared to either psychiatric or non-psychiatric control subject. The aim of this study was to detect possible quantitative differences in figurative processing between patients with schizophrenia-spectrum disorders and healthy controls. In order to analyse possible dissociations of different aspects of figurative speech, a range of metaphor tasks was used to distinguish between recognition of familiar metaphors, paraphrasing the meaning of the latter and generating novel metaphors: we used a standard proverb test for conventional metaphors consisting of a multiple-choice and a paraphrasing task, and the Metaphoric Triads Test for the assessment of novel metaphors. We included 40 patients with schizophrenia-spectrum disorders and 43 healthy control subjects. Our results showed that patients had impaired figurative speech processing regarding novel and conventional metaphors. Associations with cognitive functions were detected. Performance on the paraphrasing task was associated with the severity of negative symptoms. We conclude that patients with schizophrenia-spectrum disorders do exhibit impairments in the recognition and paraphrasing of conventional and the generation of novel metaphors and that some cognitive domains as well the extent of negative symptoms might be associated with these deficits.

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Accession: 052269541

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 24556517

DOI: 10.1016/j.comppsych.2013.12.021


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