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Biolinguistic Investigations on the Language Faculty

Biolinguistic Investigations on the Language Faculty by Anna Maria Di Sciullo
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We previously reported communication disruption in schizophrenia at the pragmatic level, i.e., in the ability to match language and context. Pragmatic abilities interact with a number of cognitive functions, from Theory of Mind to executive control, which in turn are known to be compromised in schizophrenia. This study aims to explore the relationship between communication-related skills, assessed through a newly developed pragmatic protocol, and neuropsychological measures, including Theory of Mind, in a sample of 39 patients with schizophrenia. Among all neuropsychological domains assessed, verbal short term memory and executive functions seem to especially correlate with the comprehension of the pragmatic aspects of language. Other cognitive and socio-cognitive domains seem to correlate in a task-specific fashion, i.e., depending on the pragmatic task under investigation. Our findings suggest that, while there is a cognitive platform for pragmatic abilities, communicative behavior is at least partially independent of the global cognitive profile. Also, the effect of Theory of Mind is likely to be mediated by more basic cognitive functions.
John Benjamins Publishing Company; November 2016
258 pages; ISBN 9789027266309
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Title: Biolinguistic Investigations on the Language Faculty
Author: Anna Maria Di Sciullo