I’m well into revising now, and yesterday I was deep in a mix of statistics and Schizophrenia. A weird combination, I know. As demonstrated below, I’m a giant-whiteboard-and-pen girl – and I use colours and arrows and bubbles that don’t connect. Yes, my handwriting really is that bad:
Followers of Cognitive model (eg. me) say that the mind is like a machine and explanations come from when the machine is at fault; like a broken processor in a computer, Schizophrenics have faulty processing stopping them from correctly identifying the world around them.
To do a quick overview of the main points, chunks of AO1, I have learnt about the Cognitive explanation (I’ve also added in a few of the scientists I’m meant to know):
Schizophrenics have faulty attention filters, meaning that they are unable to distinguish between what is real and what is not. For instance, Schizophrenics cannot do the Stroop Effect – because they get too distracted by the words to see the colours. This is especially true if the words are associated with emotions or heightened senses, for instance: knife, hate.
McGuigam found that the larynxes of Schizophrenics vibrated when they were hearing voices. As you can see, the Schizophrenics cannot tell that the voices they are hearing are produced by themselves.
Hemslay added that Schizophrenics have a failure to activate their schemas, their models and ‘guidelines’ for living. This can explain the positive symptoms of Schizophrenia – hallucinations, delusions – because it suggests that they don’t separate their extraordinary from the ordinary. It has less ease explaining the negative symptoms of Schizophrenia: emotion blunting and passivity, where the Schizophrenic feels and fears that their thoughts are being ‘inserted’ into their mind. This makes it difficult for them to have relationships.
However, I believe that the Cognitive model can explain negative symptoms, as Schizophrenics have less schemas to understand how to behave in a relationship, thus they may believe that their thoughts are not their own.
Finally, Frith said that they have faulty cognitive processes, a wide as this title may be. This means that the are less able to will themselves to actively participate – Theory of Mind. Hence comes catatonic stupor. (But if you pay them, there is greater chance they will comply. A little weird.)
Parks found that Schizophrenics had mental trouble with their Working Memory – but so did the close relations of Schizophrenics. This muddies the waters a little. Evidently, genetics is involved, but how much so?
The main problem one finds with the Cognitive explanation is that it is reductionist – that is: it fixates on one point, the mind as a machine that falls. On the other hand, Schizophrenia must not be that simple to explain. Even including the genetic component cannot answer the entire bunch of questions on Schizophrenia; one must ask “from where do these faulty processings come?” Is this a set of genes or a negative happening in childhood (for instance, abuse)? The cocktail of explanations must be mixed together before we come up with a complete answer.