Positive and Negative Symptoms in Psychosis: Description, Research, and Future Directions

By Philip D. Harvey; Elaine E. Walker | Go to book overview

LABORATORY RESEARCH: ITS RELEVANCE TO POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE SYMPTOMS

Ph. Philip D. D. Harvey1

As we have mentioned in recent chapters and articles ( Harvey & Neale, 1983; Neale et al., 1985), there has been a notable paucity of research in the laboratory modality which has addressed the connection between measured psychological processes and symptom variables. Despite Bannister ( 1968) assertion that the logical requirements of schizophrenia demand that researchers specify hypothetical relationships between deficits and symptom variables, few such studies appeared in the literature before 1980. A notable exception was the report of Oltmanns, Ohayon, and Neale ( 1978) where it was reported that the severity of thought disorder was significantly correlated with susceptibility to auditory distraction. The measure of thought disorder used was, relative to scales developed in the interim, somewhat general, but the study did constitute an attempt to develop knowledge of the association between laboratory measures and clinical symptoms.

The assessment scales developed in the interim, such as the Scale for the Assessment of Thought, Language, and Communication (TLC; Andreasen, 1979a), have attempted to separate thought disorder into a number of different signs or subtypes, with an overlaid conceptual framework dividing the signs into those that are considered positive (representing a behavioral excess) versus negative (reflecting behavioral deficits). Our own ( Harvey et al., 1984) and Andreasen ( 1979b) research has indicated both that there is considerable diversity in the types of communication disorders in psychotic patients and that these speech disorders are diversely but consistently distributed across manic and schizophrenic subjects.

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1
The research presented in this paper was supported in part by grant number MH38431 from the National Institute of Mental Health. I would like to thank Elaine Walker, Elizabeth Earle-Boyer, and Joyce Levinson for their contributions to the research presented here.

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