Empirical evaluation of language disorder in schizophrenia

Massoud Stephane, Giuseppe Pellizzer, Charles R. Fletcher, Kate McClannahan

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    24 Scopus citations


    Objective: Studies of the content of speech and of verbal hallucinations in schizophrenia point to dysfunction at multiple levels of language. In this study, we empirically evaluated language processes. Methods: We examined the performance of 22 schizophrenia patients and 11 healthy control subjects with procedures designed to explore the sublexical, lexical, semantic, syntactic and discourse levels of language processing. Results: Schizophrenia patients exhibit impairment in the recognition of incorrect, but not correct, linguistic stimuli at all but the sublexical level of language processing. The patients were not impaired in the recognition of nonlinguistic stimuli. Conclusion: This language-specific differential impairment could explain speech abnormalities in schizophrenia. The nonrecognition of incorrect linguistic information would prevent patients from correcting the abnormal speech they may occasionally produce. A model of decreased power of linguistic computations (reduced number of operations) adequately accounts for this differential impairment.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)250-258
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience
    Issue number4
    StatePublished - Jul 2007


    • Language
    • Schizophrenia

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Psychiatry and Mental health
    • Biological Psychiatry
    • Pharmacology (medical)


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