By R. W. Rieber, Joseph Jaffe (auth.), R. W. Rieber (eds.)
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Additional resources for Applied Psycholinguistics and Mental Health
Information Processing. To say that a set of experiments is unrepresentative of natural language use means that one cannot characterize the listener's behavior in ordinary situations. However, it need not mean that such studies are uninformative. Very many studies have been predicated on the assumption that verbal responses are just as appropriate as any other responses to test hypotheses about selective attention, discrimination, and recognition processes in schizophrenia. There are several reasons for arguing, however, that "verbal behavior" studies provide the wrong sort of evidence from which to infer information processing operations.
First, Maher and his colleagues recognized the critical problem which "thought disorder" poses for the study of schizophrenic language. They pointed out that, since many samples of schizophrenics' speech are not aberrant, it is necessary to find samples which are. , 1966, p. 471). This is especially true where the judges are mental health professionals. Their common training in descriptive diagnosis could lead them to agreement but might have little or nothing to with the patient's state. Next, having posed the problem of judges' evaluations of thought disorder, Maher et al.
Naturalistic Studies and Their Premises To understand the schizophrenic listener, one experiments. To understand the schizophrenic speaker, one observes behavior in more or less natural settings. The goal in the latter case is ultimately to formulate the processes underlying the speaker's productions. The more immediate goal is to describe those productions. Once the speech is recorded and (perhaps) the accompanying extralinguistic context noted, the investigator must decide what to do with the utterances.