Associative interference in the verbal learning performance of schizophrenics and normals

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Groups of recently admitted VA schizophrenics and VA nonpsychiatric patients (17 per group) were given 1 of 2 paired-associate lists. The experimental list consisted of pairs in which each stimulus had a minimal assocative connection with its response but was highly associated with another response on the list, as judged by word association norms. Comparisons of performance on this list with that on a parallel control list indicated that the presence of the cross-associates resulted in significant performance decrement (p < .01). No evidence was obtained to support the hypothesis proposed by Mednick (1958) that schizophrenics have a heightened susceptibility to associative interference of this type. The major difference found between the diagnostic groups was that on both the experimental and control lists and on a prior practice list, the errors of the schizophrenics contained a significantly higher proportion of overt responses (as opposed to errors of omission). (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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