Schizophrenia: disorders in which the ability to function is impaired by severely distorted beliefs, “perceptions,” and thought processes. (Hockenbury, 533) A ‘thought disorder.’ (Rose, Episode 9 Eric Kandel)

A form of “psychosis.” Psychoses in general are characterized by a break from reality, and tend to be one of the most severe types of psychological disorders. In severe cases, individuals become out of touch with reality, their thinking becomes confused, their behavior becomes bizarre. (Bamford, 10/25/10) In contrast, "mood disorders" are emotional, and "dementias" are "cognitive." (Lewis, 157) Schizophrenia affects men and women with equal frequency. Schizophrenia often first appears in men in their late teens or early twenties. In contrast, women are generally affected in their twenties or early thirties. (National Institutes of Mental Health) A "heritability" of 0.8 and "empiric risk" values indicate a strong role for "genes" in causing schizophrenia. The condition has a significant "environmental" component, too. Environmental factors include birth complication, fetal oxygen deprivation, "herpes virus" infection at birth and malnutrition, traumatic brain injury, or "infection" in the mother. Environmental influences after birth are also important. (Lewis, 158) Also referred to as ‘schizophrenic disorders.'


Catatonic Schizophrenia: marked by highly disturbed movements or actions. Very rare. (Hockenbury, 535-536) Characterized by bizarre “motor” disturbances. In some cases, these individuals assume statue-like poses and do not physically move for hours at a time. They seem to be incredibly withdrawn, and so do not respond to any environmental stimuli. (Bamford, 10/25/10)

Disorganized Schizophrenia: characterized by extremely disorganized behavior, disorganized speech, and the "flat affect." (Hockenbury, 536)

Dopamine Hypothesis: the view that schizophrenia is related to, and may be caused by, excessive activity of the “neurotransmitter”  “dopamine” in the brain. (Hockenbury, 540) In those suffering from schizophrenia, "neurons" that use dopamine "fire" too often and transmit too many messages; as a result, the symptoms associated with schizophrenia appear. It is now believed that excessive dopamine activity may only be implicated in schizophrenia characterized by positive symptoms and not in schizophrenia characterized by negative symptoms. (Cardwell, 81)

Paranoid Schizophrenia: subtype of schizophrenia that is characterized by the presence of "delusions" (of 'persecution'). These individuals are hostile and aggressive. (They may) falsely believe that their phones are tapped, that they are being watched through binoculars, or that they are being taken advantage of. (Bamford, 10/25/10) Most common type of schizophrenia. (Hockenbury, 535)

Symptoms of Schizophrenia: (there are) three types of symptoms, positive, negative, and cognitive. Positive symptoms are "illusions," delusions, and acting crazy. The negative symptoms are social withdrawal and lack of "motivation." Cognitive symptoms include difficulty with organizing one’s life, and difficulty with "working memory." (Rose, Episode 9 Eric Kandel)

Negative Symptoms: marked deficits or decreases in behavioral or emotional functioning. (Hockenbury, 534) Refers to the absence of something that is normally present. (Cardwell, 215) Examples include a lack of emotional responding, withdrawal, and minimal movement. More likely to be observed in older individuals who have experienced a long, chronic course of the disorder. (Bamford, 1/25/10) Also referred to as ‘negative schizophrenic symptoms.’

Alogia: greatly reduced production of speech. Verbal responses are limited to brief, empty comments. (Hockenbury, 534)

Avolition: the inability to initiate or persist in even simple forms of goal-directed behaviors, such as dressing, bathing, or engaging in social activities. (Hockenbury, 534) 

Disturbed Emotions: a characteristic of schizophrenia. Sometimes the emotions are inappropriate (laughing while talking about tragedy), but more commonly emotions are absent, there is a lack of any emotional response. (Bamford, 10/25/2010)

Flat Affect: regardless of the situation, the person responds in an emotionally ‘flat’ way, showing a dramatic reduction in emotional responsiveness and facial expressions. Speech is slow and monotonous. (Hockenbury, 534) Also referred to as ‘affective flattening.’ 

Irrational Thought: the general cognitive confusion that schizophrenics experience. Their speech often fails to make sense and their thinking is so disorganized that they rarely complete tasks that they start. (Bamford, 10/25/10)

Positive Symptoms: symptoms that reflect excesses or distortions of normal functioning. (Hockenbury, 533) Refers to the presence of something that is normally absent. (Cardwell, 215) Examples include delusions, auditory hallucinations, and bizarre behavior. (Bamford, 1/25/10) Also referred to as ‘positive schizophrenic symptoms.’

Delusions: false beliefs that persist in spite of compelling contradictory evidence. Bizarre and farfetched notions. (Hockenbury, 533) A false belief held against all contrary evidence. (Coon, 549) Irrational thoughts or ideas. (Bamford, 10/25/10)

Delusions of Grandeur: the belief that the person is extremely powerful, important, or wealthy. (Hockenbury, 534) Believing that one is Jesus or Napoleon. (Bamford, 10/25/10)

Delusions of Persecution: the belief that others are plotting against or trying to harm the person or someone close to her. (Hockenbury, 534) For example, believing that the government is watching, or that aliens have implanted in a chip in one’s brain. (Bamford, 10/25/10)

Delusions of Reference: the belief that other people are constantly talking about her or that everything that happens is somehow related to her. (Hockenbury, 533)

Deterioration of Adaptive Behavior: a characteristic of schizophrenia in which academic, social and occupational functioning diminish until the individual is behaving so strangely that he may have to be institutionalized to avoid hurting himself or others. (Bamford, 10/25/10) 

Disorganized Thinking: difficulty in concentrating, remembering and integrating important information while ignoring irrelevant information. The persons’s mind drifts from topic to topic in an unpredictable, illogical manner. (Hockenbury, 534) Also referred to as ‘disorganized thought processes.’

Hallucinations: false or distorted perceptions that seem vividly real. (Hockenbury, 534) The most common type of hallucinations for schizophrenics are auditory hallucinations - typically hearing voices that are not there. Sometimes the voices are commenting on ongoing behavior, sometimes the voices are giving commands. (Bamford, 10/25/10) Also referred to as ‘distorted perceptions.’

Undifferentiated Schizophrenia: an individual displays some combination of positive and negative symptoms that does not clearly fit the criteria for the paranoid, catatonic, or disorganized type. (Hockenbury, 536)

Viral Infection Theory of Schizophrenia: contends that the development of schizophrenia is related to exposure to the flu virus or other viral infection during prenatal development or early infancy. (Hockenbury 538)