Course: PSYC*1000 (DE)
Professor: Harvey Marmurek
Schedule: Summer, 2012
Textbook: Psychology – Tenth Edition in Modules authored by David G. Myers
Textbook ISBN: 9781464102615
Module 50: Schizophrenia
Nearly 1 in 100 people (about 60% of men) will develop schizophrenia, joining the estimated 24 million across the
Symptoms of Schizophrenia
What patterns of thinking, perceiving, feeling, and behaving characterize schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia means split mind – not multiple-personality but rather split from reality that shows itself in
disorganized thinking, disturbed perceptions, and inappropriate emotions and actions. It is the chief example of a
psychosis, a disorder marked by irrationality and lost contact with reality.
Disorganized Thinking: Delusions – fragmented, bizarre, often distorted. Paranoid tendencies are prone to
delusions of persecution. Disorganized thoughts may result from a breakdown in selective attention. Irrelevant,
minute stimuli such as the grooves on a brick or the inflections of a oice may distract their attention from a bigger
event or a speaker’s meaning.
Disturbed Perceptions: hallucinations (sensory experiences without sensory stimulation). May see, feel,
taste, or smell things that are not there. Hallucinations are most often auditory – frequently voices making insulting
remarks or giving orders.
Inappropriate Emotions and Actions: Often utterly inappropriate, split off from reality – laughing at gramma’s
death, cring when others laugh, anger for no reason. Others with schizophrenia lapse into an emotionless state of
flat affect. Most also have difficulty perceiving facial emotions and reading others’ states of mind. Motor behaviour
may also be inappropriate. Some perform senseless, compulsive acts, such as continually rocking or rubbing an
arm. Others, who exhibit catatonia, may remain motionless for hours and then become agitated. During their most
severe periods, those with schizophrenia live in a private inner world, preoccupied with illogical ideas and unreal
images. Supportive environment and emdication – 40%+ will have periods of a year or more of normal life
Onset and Development of Schizophrenia
What are the schizophrenia subtypes? How do chronic and acute schizophrenia differ?
Strikes as young people are maturing into adulthood thin, young men, who were not breast-fed more vulnerable
(Swedish and Danish studies). Some – will appear suddenly and seem as a reaction to stress. For others it
develops gradually, emerging from a long history of social inadequacy and poor school performance. It is a cluster
of disorders. Positive symptoms may experience hallucinations, talk in disorganized and deluded ways, and exhibit
inappropriate emotions. Negative symptoms have toneless voices, expressionless faces, or mute and rigid bodies.
Thus, positive symptoms are the presence of inappropriate behaviours and negative symptoms are the absence of
appropriate behaviours. When schizophrenia is a slow-developing process (called chronic, or process
schizophrenia), recovery is doubtful. When previously well-adjusted people develop schizophrenia rapidly (called
acute or reactive schizophrenia) following particular life stresses, recovery is much more likely.
Schizophrenia is a disease of the brain manifest in symptoms of the mind
How do brain abnormalities and viral infections help explain schizophrenia?
Dopamine Overactivity: sixfold excess for the so-called D4 dopamine receptor. Such a hyper-responsive
dopamine system may intensify brain signals in schizophrenia, creating positive symptoms such as hallucinations
and paranoia. Drugs that block dopamine receptors often lessen these symptoms and drugs that increase
dopaimmine levels such as amphetamines and cocaine sometimes intensify them.
Abnormal Brain Activity and Anatomy: modern brain-scanning techniques reveal that many people with
chronic schizophrenia have abnormal activity in multiple brain areas. Some have abnormally low brain activity in the
frontal lobes, which are critical for reasoning, planning, and problem solving. Also display a noticeable decline in brain waves that reflect synchronized neural firing in the frontal lobes. Out-of-sync neurons may disrupt the
integrated functioning of neural networks, possibly contributing o schizophrenia symptoms. PET scan while
hallucinating – brain became vigorously active in several core regions, including the thalamus, a structure deep in
the brain that filters incoming sensory signals and transmits them to the cortex. Another PET scan with paranoia
found increased activity in the amygdala, a fear processing centre. Found enlarged, fluid-filled areas and a
corresponding shrinkage and thinning of cerebral tissue in people with schiz. The greater the brain shrinkage, the
ore severe the thought disorder. One smaller-than-normal area is the cortex. Another is the corpus callosum
connection between the two hemispheres. Another is the thalamus, which may explain wh