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Affectivity in Schizophrenia A Phenomenological View

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Schizophrenia involves profound but enigmatic disturbances of affective or emotional life. The affective responses as well as expression of many patients in the schizophrenia spectrum can seem odd, incongruent, inadequate, or otherwise off-the-mark. Such patients are, in fact, often described in rather contradictory terms: as being prone both to exaggerated and to diminished levels of emotional or affective response. According to Ernst Kretschmer, they actually tend to have both kinds of experience at the same time. This paper attempts to explain what might be termed this 'Kretschmerian paradox'. Some relevant concepts and vocabulary for affect and emotion are discussed (including the notions of 'affect', 'emotion', 'mood' and 'the passions'). The need for a phenomenological approach focusing on subjective experience is suggested. Three modes of abnormal experience in schizophrenia are investigated in light of their implications for affect or emotion: (1) alienation of the lived body (Bodily Alienation); (2) fragmented perception and loss of affordances (Unworlding); and (3) preoccupation with a quasi-delusional world created by the self (Subjectivization).

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2004-01-01

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