Perception of causality in schizophrenia spectrum disorder

Tschacher, Wolfgang; Kupper, Zeno (2006). Perception of causality in schizophrenia spectrum disorder. Schizophrenia bulletin, 32 Suppl 1(Suppl 1), S106-S112. Oxford: Oxford University Press 10.1093/schbul/sb1018

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Patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders often maintain deviating views on cause-effect relationships, especially when positive and disorganization symptoms are manifest. Altered perceived causality is prominent in delusional ideation, in ideas of reference, and in the mentalizing ability (theory of mind [ToM]) of patients. Perceiving causal relationships may be understood either as higher order cognitive reasoning or as low-level information processing. In the present study, perception of causality was investigated as a low-level, preattentional capability similar to gestalt-like perceptual organization. Thirty-one patients (24 men and 7 women with mean age 27.7 years) and the same number of healthy control subjects matched to patients with respect to age and sex were tested. A visual paradigm was used in which 2 identical discs move, from opposite sides of a monitor, steadily toward and then past one another. Their coincidence generates an ambiguous, bistable percept (discs either "stream through" or "bounce off" one another). The bouncing perception, ie, perceived causality, is enhanced when auditory stimuli are presented at the time of coincidence. Psychopathology was measured using the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale. It was found that positive symptoms were strongly associated with increased perceived causality and disorganization with attenuated perceived causality. Patients in general were not significantly different from controls, but symptom subgroups showed specifically altered perceived causality. Perceived causality as a basic preattentional process may contribute to higher order cognitive alterations and ToM deficiencies. It is suggested that cognitive remediation therapy should address both increased and reduced perception of causality.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > University Psychiatric Services > University Hospital of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy > Psychotherapy

UniBE Contributor:

Tschacher, Wolfgang, Kupper, Zeno






Oxford University Press




Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:49

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:15

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URI: (FactScience: 3973)

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