Failing to Self-Ascribe Thought and Motion: Towards a Three-Factor Account of Passivity Symptoms in Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia Research 152 (1):28-32 (2014)
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There has recently been emphasis put on providing two-factor accounts of monothematic delusions. Such accounts would explain (1) whether a delusional hypothesis (e.g. someone else is inserting thoughts into my mind) can be understood as a prima facie reasonable response to an experience and (2) why such a delusional hypothesis is believed and maintained given its implausibility and evidence against it. I argue that if we are to avoid obfuscating the cognitive mechanisms involved in monothematic delusion formation we should split the first factor (1 above) into two factors: how abnormal experience can give rise to a delusional ‘proto-hypothesis’ and how a ‘proto-hypothesis’ in consort with normal experiences and background information, can be developed into a delusional hypothesis. In particular I will argue that a schizophrenic is faced with the unusual requirement of having to identify an introspectively accessible thought as one's own, and that this requirement of identification is the central experiential abnormality of thought insertion, auditory verbal hallucination, and alien control (i.e. passivity symptoms). Additionally, I will consider non-experiential factors which are required for the formation of a delusional hypothesis.
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