The syntactic role of pauses in the speech of schizophrenic patients with alogia.

Abstract

This study examines the relation between alogia and pausing. The authors analyzed the flow of speech of 17 male schizophrenic patients during an interview, particularly the pauses that occurred within and between syntactic clauses and those that occurred as the turn switched from the interviewer's question to the patient's response. The strongest predictor of alogia ratings was the duration of switching pauses; the frequency of long within-clause pauses was also significantly related to alogia, but the frequency of between-clause pauses showed a trend toward a negative relation with alogia. Words following within-clause pauses were more likely to be content words than function words, and the content words were less frequent in the English language than the speaker's other words. This suggests that alogic patients have difficulty in word finding and in thought formulation, as well as a general increase in the duration of all pauses.

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