The effect of verbal labelling on the reproduction of designs of schizophrenic and nonschizophrenic groups
Atkison, B. L.
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The purpose of this expertoent was to study some of the differences in the perception of schizophrenics and normal subjects, especially when past experience (in the form of verbal labels) was introduced into the experimental situation. The procedure involved flashing designs tachisto-scopically and having the Os draw what they saw. Past experience was introduced to the experimental group by giving the designs labels that did not fit them with complete accuracy. It was hypothesized that, under this condition, distortions in the "direction of the label" would be more pronounced in the reproductions of the normal observers. The results, under control conditions, were that the schizophrenics produced more distorted reproductions than did the nonschizophrenics. This was as predicted and is consistent with previous research findings. The results with P (distortions in the direction of the label) were more equivocal. When only dichotomous judgments (marked "P" and "No P") were considered, the performance of the schizophrenics appeared to be more affected than that of normal observers. However, when the designs were divided into three equal groups, from most like the label to least like the label, another answer became apparent. It was found that normal observers, under experimental conditions of the label set, reproduced drawings that reflected elements of both the percept and the introduced disparate concept (i.e., "label"). As a group, schizophrenic observers could not make this compromise; thus, their perfomance was interpreted as reflecting a lack of ability to assimilate divergent infomation and a lack of accuracy in distinguishing relevant from irrelevant in processing this information. Schisophrenic performance in this study was interpreted to be consonant with that of previous studies in terms of such characteristics of schizophrenic behavior as over-literalness and over-inclusiveness.