Distractibility in schizophrenia: State and trait aspects

B. Spring, M. Lemon, L. Weinstein, A. Haskell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


This report compared the selective attention of 19 schizophrenic in-patients, 10 recently discharged schizophrenic out-patients, 21 schizophrenic out-patients in stable clinical remission, 33 first-degree relatives of schizophrenics from 15 families, 25 students who scored deviantly on questionnaire measures of magical ideation, perceptual aberrations, and physical anhedonia, and 20 normal controls. Results indicated that distractors only disrupted the performance of schizophrenic in-patients, suggesting that differential deficits in selective attention are a marker of episodes of schizophrenia. A propensity to interject phonemes from the distracting message was found not only in patients in or just emerging from a psychotic episode, but also in the remaining vulnerable but non-psychotic groups, suggesting that intrusion errors might be a mediating vulnerability marker. The findings suggest both state and possibly trait aspects to distractibility in schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-68
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Journal of Psychiatry
Issue numberJUL. SUPPL. 5
StatePublished - 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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