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Source monitoring and memory confidence in schizophrenia

  • S. MORITZ (a1), T. S. WOODWARD (a1) and C. C. RUFF (a1)

Background. The present study attempted to extend previous research on source monitoring deficits in schizophrenia. We hypothesized that patients would show a bias to attribute self-generated words to an external source. Furthermore, it was expected that schizophrenic patients would be over-confident regarding false memory attributions.

Method. Thirty schizophrenic and 21 healthy participants were instructed to provide a semantic association for 20 words. Subsequently, a list was read containing experimenter- and self-generated words as well as new words. The subject was required to identify each item as old/new, name the source, and state the degree of confidence for the source attribution.

Results. Schizophrenic patients displayed a significantly increased number of source attribution errors and were significantly more confident than controls that a false source attribution response was true. The latter bias was ameliorated by higher doses of neuroleptics.

Conclusions. It is inferred that a core cognitive deficit underlying schizophrenia is a failure to distinguish false from true mnestic contents.

Corresponding author
Address for correspondence: Dr Steffen Moritz, Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf, Klinik für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie, Martinistrasse 52, D-20246 Hamburg, Germany.
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Psychological Medicine
  • ISSN: 0033-2917
  • EISSN: 1469-8978
  • URL: /core/journals/psychological-medicine
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