Metaphor Processing in Schizophrenia Patients: A Study of Comprehension and Explanation of Metaphors

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The study assessed the quantity and quality of errors made by schizophrenia patients in understanding and interpretation of the same metaphors, to evaluate metaphor understanding and explanation depending on the type of presentation material, and to analyze the correlation of illness symptoms with metaphor comprehension and explanation. Two groups of participants were examined: a schizophrenia sample (40 participants) and a control group (39 participants). Metaphor processing was assessed by the subtests of the Polish version of the Right Hemisphere Language Battery (RHLB-PL). The patients were also evaluated with the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS). Schizophrenia patients scored significantly lower in explanation of metaphors, making more incorrect literal and abstract mistakes or providing no answer more frequently. No differences were observed in understanding metaphors; no correlation between symptoms and metaphor processing was obtained. In both groups, picture metaphors were easier to comprehend and written metaphors were easier to comprehend than to explain.

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