A theoretical analysis of schizophrenia based on a cognitive model integrates the complex interaction of predisposing neurobiological, environmental, cognitive, and behavioral factors with the diverse symptomatology. The impaired integrative function of the brain, as well as the domain-specific cognitive deficits, increases the vulnerability to aversive life experiences, which lead to dysfunctional beliefs and behaviors. Symptoms of disorganization result not only from specific neurocognitive deficits but also from the relative paucity of resources available for maintaining a set, adhering to rules of communication, and inhibiting intrusion of inappropriate ideas. Delusions are analyzed in terms of the interplay between active cognitive biases, such as external attributions, and resource-sparing strategies such as jumping to conclusions. Similarly, the content of hallucinations and the delusions regarding their origin and characteristics may be understood in terms of biased information processing. The interaction of neurocognitive deficits, personality, and life events leads to the negative symptoms characterized by negative social and performance beliefs, low expectancies for pleasure and success, and a resource-sparing strategy to conserve limited psychological resources. The comprehensive conceptualization creates the context for targeted psychological treatments.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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