Conceptualization in language production by patients diagnosed with schizophrenia

Cross-linguistic studies have shown that speakers of typologically different languages exhibit different patterns with regard to both event conceptualization, as well as the way spatial concepts are used to structure space. These differences affect the information selected as well as the perspective taken when describing situations. This project focuses on German and English native speakers diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia is associated with disorganized cognitive functioning. We make use of well-established complex cognitive tasks, in order to develop a frame of analysis of possible syndrome-specific patterns in information organization and perspective-taking in language production. Levels of analysis include, for example, the degree of specificity and granularity of texts, and the degree of consistency as well as information selection and organization in discourse. Overall research questions relate to the extent to which information is processed at a global versus a local level in schizophrenic patients, in comparison to healthy speakers, performing the same tasks.

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