Impaired semantic memory in the formation and maintenance of delusions post-traumatic brain injury: a new cognitive model of delusions

Susan Rossell, Rachel Batty, Laura Hughes

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    12 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    This paper proposes a new cognitive model to explain the aetiology of delusions irrespective of diagnosis and/or phenomenology. The model hypothesises the influence of two processes in the formation and maintenance of delusions; (i) impaired perceptual abilities, particularly affect perception, which fosters the encoding of (ii) idiosyncratic semantic memories, especially those with an affective/self-referential valence. Previous research has established that schizophrenia patients with delusions have impaired semantic memory function. In the current paper we sought to provide evidence for (ii) abnormal semantic processing in persons with delusions with an alternative aetiology. Performance of four cases with a significant delusion post a traumatic brain injury was examined on a broad range of semantic memory tests. Overall semantic processing was impaired in the four cases relative to a normative healthy control sample. Cases performed better on tasks which required categorical identification, relative to the novel production of semantic information, which was poor in all four of the cases. These data offer preliminary evidence for our hypothesis of impaired semantic processing in persons with delusions. Findings will need to be empirically verified in larger sample groups and in those with alternative aetiologies.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)571-581
    Number of pages11
    JournalEuropean Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience
    Volume260
    Issue number8
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2010

    Keywords

    • Delusions
    • Psychosis
    • Semantic memory and perception
    • Traumatic brain injury

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