Measurement of conceptual deficit in brain-damaged and schizophrenic subjects



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This study was undertaken, in order to pursue greater understanding of conceptual behavior of brain-damaged individuals and good and poor prognosis schizophrenics, A secondary purpose was to gain some measure of the communicability of a recently devised scoring technique (Zander, 196S) for scaling object sorting responses, a technique which was created initially for purposes of studying conceptual behavior of normal adults. By readdressing the topic of conceptualization in brain-injured as well as schizophrenic individuals, it was hoped that a further contribution might be made to the body of knowledge that eventually will solve the riddle of possible brain involvement in 'poor prognosis' schizophrenia. Schizophrenic subjects used were those obtained from Talbot's (1968) research, segregated into good and poor prognosis groups according to the Phillips Scale of Premorbid Adjustment. The 57 subjects (27 males and 30 females) were selected on the basis of an age range of 18 to 45, a WAIS IQ of 80 or above, and a clear-cut undisputed psychiatric diagnosis of schizophrenia. No significant differences existed between groups, or sexes, in age or test intelligence, The 30 brain-damaged subjects (16 males and 14 females) had a primary medical diagnosis of chronic brain syndrome without psychosis, ranged in age from 19 to 45, and achieved WAIS Vocabulary IQ's of 80 or above. No significant differences existed between any two group comparisons of the three subject groups in age or intelligence, but brain-damaged subjects were found to have significantly less education than the schizophrenics. Tests were administered individually to each subject. All subjects were given the Goldstein-Gelb-Welgl-Scheerer Object Sorting test. The brain-damaged subjects were also given the Grassi Block Substitution test in order to better determine the characteristics of the particular organic subjects tested. Quality of thinking of the three groups was assessed through subjecting the object sorting responses to two different methods of analysis, the McGaughran-Moran Conceptual Area scoring system, and the Zander Scale scoring system. The rationale for scoring conceptual areas was developed by McGaughran (1954). In keeping with Talbot's findings of no differences between good and poor prognosis schizophrenics in object sorting behavior assessed according to Conceptual Area analysis, no differences were found in the present study between these two groups with this form of analysis, nor with the Zander Scale scoring system. Differences were found between brain-damaged and both schizophrenic groups, however. Briefly, Total Closed scoring of conceptual analysis contrasted with the Closed/Open dimension of the Zander Scale scoring system resulted in an insignificant reversal for the brain-damaged and poor prognosis groups, which means that, while the total result is that the brain-damaged group is somewhat more closed than the schizophrenics according to quadrant analysis, the scales show the brain-damaged group to be much more closed in their conceptual behavior than either or both of the schizophrenic groups. In keeping with all previous findings, the organic group was expected to be more public in their sorting, but with the area system, they scored unexpectedly high in the open/private quadrant. The interpretation of this finding is that, as measured by area analysis, the brain-damaged subjects gave an uncommonly high number of midrange, open/private responses which arc more typical of the schizophrenic while the schizophrenic gave more responses characteristic of normals on the scales. It was concluded that this study confirms all previous findings, the one exception being that the brain-damaged subjects scored more heavily in the open/private quadrant in contrast to the expected predominance of closed/public scores obtained by such patients in previous studies. Some evidence was obtained to indicate that the Zander Scale scoring system is somewhat more sensitive than the Conceptual Area system in distinguishing brain-damaged groups from schizophrenic groups but, regardless of differences in rigor of the two methods, this study in no way indicates a similarity in conceptual behavior between poor prognosis schizophrenics and brain-damaged individuals. Good and poor prognosis schizophrenics are shown to behave alike and both are shown to behave differently from organics. Finally, this study replicates previous findings of brain-damaged performances on the Grassi Block Substitution test but with different subjects with the same type of pathology.



People with mental disabilities, Schizophrenics, Testing