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Positive symptoms and the organization within and between ideas in schizophrenic speech

  • Heidelinde A. Allen (a1) and Derek S. Allen (a1)


The study examined the performance of positive symptom schizophrenics vis à vis that of demographically well-matched negative symptom schizophrenics and normals in organizing words into ideas and ideas into integrated spoken discourse. This involved applying a series of analyses to speech produced when describing pictures in an unconstrained way. The results showed that, for the most part, positive symptom schizophrenics organized their speech, both within and between ideas, as well as negative symptom schizophrenics and normals. The results did, however, show an increased tendency by the positive speech disordered schizophrenics to omit referents for noun phrases requiring referents. This constitutes a specific failure to connect ideas and does, at least in part, explain what makes positive speech disorder (incoherence of speech) unintelligible. However, taken altogether, the results do not support the extant view that positive symptom schizophrenics suffer from a general loss of control in producing speech.


Corresponding author

1Address for correspondence: Dr H. A. Allen, Psychological Services, Department of Psychiatry, The Royal Free Hospital, Pond Street, London NW3 2QG.


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Positive symptoms and the organization within and between ideas in schizophrenic speech

  • Heidelinde A. Allen (a1) and Derek S. Allen (a1)


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