There is a close relationship between language functioning and schizophrenia, and verbal memory is a legitimate and important deficit with significantly negative consequences for real world social functioning. Over the past years, researchers have proposed that some forms of memory are selectively impaired in schizophrenia.
To understand the nature of contextual verbal memory impairment that may be associated with schizophrenia, researchers from China recently used memory of prose as a medium and studied how the illness differentially affected the various processes of contextual verbal memory.
It was speculated that patients with schizophrenia would have a poorer performance compared with healthy controls on all constructs studied, with the exception of false recognition, in which healthy controls were hypothesized to commit a greater number of false positives in the recognition task of the prose passage.
This study investigated if the different components of prose memory, across three recall conditions: first learning trial immediate recall, fifth learning trial immediate recall, and 30-min delayed recall, are differentially impaired in people with schizophrenia, relative to healthy controls.
A total of 39 patients with schizophrenia and 39 matched healthy controls were recruited. Their prose memory, in terms of recall accuracy, temporal sequence, recognition accuracy and false positives, commission of distortions, and rates of learning, forgetting, and retention were tested and compared.
After controlling for the level of intelligence and depression, the patients with schizophrenia were found to commit more distortions. Furthermore, they performed poorer on recall accuracy and temporal sequence accuracy only during the first initial immediate recall. On the other hand, the rates of forgetting/retention and recognition accuracy were comparable between the two groups.
These findings, which appear in the journal Schizophrenia Research
(available online 30 September 2005) suggest that people with schizophrenia could be benefited by repeated exposure to the materials to be remembered. These results may have important implications for rehabilitation of verbal declarative memory deficits in schizophrenia.
Medindia on Schizophrenia:
Schizophrenia is a chronic severe disabling mental illness. Some of the symptoms suffered by schizophrenia are hallucinations seen or heard, feelings of being persecuted, becoming withdrawn, aggression and deranged behavior. Schizophrenia can be treated symptomatically, but only one in five patients have a chance of full recovery.