The Cognitive Neuropsychology of Schizophrenia
Psychology Press – 1995 – 176 pages
Series: Essays in Cognitive Psychology
Schizophrenic patients have bizarre experiences which reflect a disorder in the contents of consciousness. For example, patients hear voices talking about them or they are convinced that alien forces are controlling their actions. Their abnormal behaviour includes incoherence and lack of will. In this book an explanation of these baffling signs and symptoms is provided using the framework of cognitive neuropsychology.
The cognitive abnormalities that underlie these signs and symptoms suggest impairment in a system which constructs and monitors representations of certain abstract (especially mental) events in consciousness. For example, schizophrenic patients can no longer construct representations of their intentions to act. Thus, if actions occur, these will be experienced as coming out of the blue and hence can seem alien. The patient who lacks awareness of his own intentions will stop acting spontaneously and hence will show a lack of will.
The psychological processes that are abnormal in schizophrenia can be related to underlying brain systems using evidence from human and animal neuropsychology. Interactions between prefrontal cortex and other parts of the brain, especially temporal cortex appear critical for constructing the contents of consciousness. It is these interactions that are likely to be impaired in schizophrenia.
I found this a stimulating and extremely well-written book… The ultimate scientific challenge facing clinical psychology is to try and explain abnormal behaviour. Frith's book encourages us to try and explain schizophrenic experience and behaviour in psychological terms, and it deserves to be widely read. - Ronan O'Carroll in Clinical Psychology Forum
It is seldom that one comes across a book on the subject of Schizophrenia with such fresh and focused ideas. Frith stimulatingly disentangles outworn concepts and cuts through the terminological overgrowth…This is a necessary book for scientists and clinicians; it will give them new insights and help them shake off vague concepts, and lexical and taxonomic bad habits. - W. Fraser in Neuropsychologia
'The doctors do not understand my illness'…Christopher Frith's monograph is a superb trampoline on which to bounce this question, for it provides both a succinct summary of what is known (or conjectured) and a highly original approach to the notion of explanation in psychiatric disorders. - John Marshall in Nature
He succeeds in giving a clear account of the clinical and biological issues and proposes a sophisticated psychological explanation of the core information-processing deficits in schizophrenia…This book will be of interest to any psychologists, psychiatrists and allied professionals working with schizophrenic patients. For researchers both inexperienced and experienced in the field of information-processing deficits in schizophrenia, this book will be a source of information and inspiration. - Hilary Roxborough in British Journal of Clinical Psychology
The Nature of Schizophrenia. Brain Abnormalities in Schizophrenia. Linking the Mind and the Brain. Behavioural Abnormalities. Positive Symptoms, Abnormal Experiences. Communication in Schizophrenia. Schizophrenia as a Disorder of Self-Awareness. Appendices. References. Author Index. Subject Index.