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Schizophrenic reproduction of emotionally toned and neutral material Treit, Joyce Isabel


The present investigation was an attempt to explore the reproduction by schizophrenics of emotionally- toned and neutral material under conditions of immediate and delayed recall. The relationship of the reproductions to the degree of illness of the patient was also studied. For these purposes, two structurally equivalent meaningful prose paragraphs, one neutral in tone and the other strongly aggressive in tone, were presented individually to eighteen male patients diagnosed as schizophrenic who had been rank ordered in terms of degree of illness. Preceding the main investigation a pilot study was conducted with forty-five schizophrenics and eight normals, using the emotionally-toned stimulus material. Thirteen of the schizophrenics gave an unaided delayed recall. The purpose of the pilot study was to test the potential of the material to elicit a wide and symmetrical distribution of scores. It was also designed to assess differences between the initial and delayed recall of the schizophrenic subjects. The results showed statistically significant differences between the schizophrenics and the normals on all the quantitative measures with the exception of the importations. There were no differences between the initial and delayed recall. The stimulus material was effective in eliciting symmetrical distributions. In the initial learning session of the present investigation, the two types of material were presented in a counterbalanced order from subject to subject. The procedure of one-trial learning and immediate recall was followed. One week later an unaided recall of the two different stimulus materials was obtained. The results of the quantitative analysis showed only minor differences between the reproductions of the two types of material. The qualitative analysis showed evidence of differential treatment of the two materials by the subjects. It also showed differences in learning efficiency between the reproductions of the two materials, in favour of the emotionally-toned material. The learning scores for the initial recall session were significantly greater than for the delayed recall session, particularly for the emotionally-toned material. The only consistent correlation with degree of illness was in the delayed recall of the emotional material. It may be concluded that the schizophrenic reproductions in this study did not support the theory hypothesizing inferior recall of emotionally-toned material as opposed to neutral material. If anything, these subjects gave indications of following the normal pattern in this regard. Other results of the respective analyses were inconclusive, but invite further investigation.

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