eISSN: 2084-9885
ISSN: 1896-6764
Neuropsychiatria i Neuropsychologia/Neuropsychiatry and Neuropsychology
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vol. 3

Semantic priming paradigm in schizophrenia research

Katarzyna Prochwicz

Neuropsychiatria i Neuropsychologia 2008; 3, 1: 21–28
Online publish date: 2008/04/14
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Network models of human memory hold that concepts are stored in the cognitive system in a form of a structure that resembles a network. A single node of a network corresponds to each concept; however, semantic associations among the concepts are mirrored in the form of ‘paths’ that link nodes that they find the most suitable. Processing of a concrete concept leads to activation of such a node. The activation is spread across the ‘paths’ going out from the node of ‘paths’ and reaches those nodes which are semantically related to the source one. This results in further, better processing of the concepts. The process is tested with the help of a procedure of semantic priming. The subjects are given two semantically related words. Presentation of the first word causes stimulation of activation in the network node which corresponds to the second word before the latter is even shown. Thus, when the word appears it will be processed more quickly and correctly than words for which activation from the source node did not come. In the article there is a review of research on the phenomenon of semantic priming in schizophrenia. The results of the research indicate that there is a considerable disparity in the course of this phenomenon in the conditions of automatic semantic activation. Some experiments show that there was an increase of semantic priming in patients with schizophrenia. Others, however, show attenuation of the process. There are also studies which show no significant differences as regards strength of semantic priming between schizophrenics and control groups. The results of the research when it comes to semantic priming in conditions which enable engagement of the attention processes clearly indicate that there is attenuation of the process in patients with schizophrenia.

semantic network, semantic priming, schizophrenia

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