Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Schizophrenia has various symptoms that are characteristic of the disease. One such symptom is verbal hallucinations. Hoffman (1986) proposes that the "language production mechanism" is dysfunctional in schizophrenics and that this aberrant mechanism is the cause of the hallucinations. This study investigated whether Hoffman's notions are correct. One subject group was ten schizophrenic patients from Larned State Hospital in Larned, KS. The second subject group was the control group of ten volunteers from the Hays area. The control group was matched to the schizophrenic group according to age, education, and gender. The subjects were tested according to an active- passive paradigm. The materials involved in this study included a six-sentence preamble and a picture. The preambles are designed to reflect one of two conditions in which the conceptual focus is either in the active or passive voice. A computer was used to present the preamble as well as the picture. The subject's reaction time and accuracy of their first response was recorded. There was a significant main effect for groups, i.e., between the subjects with schizophrenia and their matched controls. Generally, subjects with schizophrenia responded significantly slower and less accurately than their matched controls. Therefore, it appears that Hoffman's notion of a dysfunctional "language production mechanism" may have some merit. However, from these results alone one cannot conclusively say that Hoffman's notion is completely correct. There are many other linguistic operations that were not manipulated in the present experiment which may or may not have affected the results. Future research is needed to understand the role of these other related operations.


Marc Pratarelli

Date of Award

Spring 1994

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access


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