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Use of the Cloze procedure in the assessment of schizophrenic thought disorder Huberman, Jack Jacob


The present investigation was an attempt to determine the validity of the Cloze Procedure in assessing differences between schizophrenic patients in the relative severity of thought disorganization. For this purpose, samples of schizophrenic speech in response to TAT cards were obtained from twelve male schizophrenic patients who had been rank ordered by two psychiatrists in terms of disordered thought processes. Equal length schizophrenic language samples with every fifth word deleted and replaced by a standard length blank were mimeographed and presented to a group of upper level undergraduate psychology students who were instructed to try to guess the missing words from the context of those that remained. These mutilated language samples constitute the Cloze forms. The scores on the Cloze Procedure represented a rank ordering by the students of the severity of schizophrenic thought disturbance in terms of the number of correctly replaced words in the language samples elicited from each patient. A substantial correlation coefficient ("r" = .82) was found between the rank order on the Cloze Procedure and the rank order obtained in the external criterion measure, that is, the psychiatric ratings. The results of tests for internal consistency and reliability of the Cloze Procedure ("W" = .622) and for the reliability of the Close raters ("R" = .792) were also substantial. A number of advantages and disadvantages of this method of investigation are discussed and contrasted with those of other somewhat similar procedures. Possible applications to psychiatric research are suggested. The results appear to be conclusive within the limitations of the criterion measure employed in this study. More widespread generalizations await further research which is invited in light of the apparently promising findings of this exploratory study.

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