Author(s): Rapp AM, Langohr K, Mutschler DE, Wild B, Rapp AM, Langohr K, Mutschler DE, Wild B
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Abstract Difficulties in understanding irony and sarcasm are part of the social cognition deficits in patients with schizophrenia. A number of studies have reported higher error rates during comprehension in patients with schizophrenia. However, the relationships of these impairments to schizotypal personality traits and other language deficits, such as the comprehension of proverbs, are unclear. We investigated irony and proverb comprehension in an all-female sample of 20 schizophrenia patients and 27 matched controls. Subjects indicated if a statement was intended to be ironic, literal, or meaningless and furthermore rated the meanness and funniness of the stimuli and certainty of their decision. Patients made significantly more errors than controls did. Globally, there were no overall differences in the ratings. However, patients rated the subgroup of stimuli with answers given incorrectly as having significantly less meanness and in case of an error indicated a significantly higher certainty than controls. Across all of the study participants, performances in irony (r = -0.51) and proverb (r = 0.56) comprehension were significantly correlated with schizotypal personality traits, suggesting a continuum of nonliteral language understanding. Because irony is so frequent in everyday conversations, this makes irony an especially promising candidate for social cognition training in schizophrenia.
This article was published in Schizophr Res Treatment
and referenced in Journal of Neurology & Neurophysiology