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Korean J Schizophr Res > Volume 16(1); 2013 > Article
Korean Journal of Schizophrenia Research 2013;16(1):25-31.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.16946/kjsr.2013.16.1.25    Published online April 30, 2013.
Deficits in Abstract Thinking Assessed by Theme Identification in Patients with Schizophrenia.
Jooyoung Oh, Ji Won Chun, Jae Jin Kim
1Department of Psychiatry, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. jaejkim@yonsei.ac.kr
2Institute of Behavioral Science in Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
Patients with schizophrenia often have a concrete thinking or an impairment in abstract thinking, but there has been a limitation in quantitatively measuring this cognitive function. The aim of the current study was to investigate a deficit in abstract thinking in patients with schizophrenia using the theme identification task.
Twenty subjects with schizophrenia and 20 healthy volunteers participated in the behavioral study for theme identification. The visual stimuli were composed of a series of pictures, which contained positive or negative emotional situations. Three words, indicating a main theme of the picture, a theme-related item and a theme-unrelated item, respectively, were presented in the bottom of the pictures, and participants had to select a theme.
The patient group selected theme words at significantly lower rate in both emotional conditions than the control group (positive, p=0.002 ; negative, p=0.001). Especially, in the negative condition, the patient group more selected theme-unrelated items than the control group (p=0.001). The rates of theme identification were inversely correlated with scores of the Social Anhedonia Scale (positive, r=-0.440, p=0.007 ; negative, r=-0.366, p=0.028).
Patients with schizophrenia exhibited an impairment in abstract thinking, and it was remarkable in the negative condition. The ability to think abstractly was associated with the severity of social anhedonia. The impairment of abstract thinking may become one of the reasons for poor social functioning in socially anhedonic patients.
Key Words: Schizophrenia · Abstract thinking · Emotion · Theme identification · Anhedonia


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