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Title: Schizotypy, theory of mind and the understanding of irony
Author: Barnaby, B.
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2006
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Frith's (1992) cognitive neuropsychological model of schizophrenia proposed that the symptoms characteristic of that disorder can be accounted for in terms of differing degrees of theory of mind impairment. There is a large body of evidence indicating that individuals with schizophrenia perform poorly on tasks that are hypothesised to require a functioning theory of mind, and this review aims to introduce the main findings from these studies. Following consideration of thirty-four relevant papers, this review finds that the only unequivocal finding is that individuals with schizophrenia do show impaired theory of mind. How this impairment relates to schizophrenic symptomatology as predicted by Frith's model is far less certain, and several methodological limitations are discussed that could account for this uncertainty, before a new development in the field is introduced: the use of the schizotypy paradigm to test the predictions of Frith's theory in non-clinical samples. The schizotypy paradigm has been employed in three studies investigating ToM performance in healthy individuals to date (Langdon and Coltheart, 1999 Langdon and Coltheart, 2004 Pickup, 2006), and the findings from these studies show that schizotypal traits do influence ToM performance. These studies are reviewed, and future directions for research are recommended.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available