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December 1954

LANGUAGE PATTERNS IN PSYCHOTIC AND PSYCHONEUROTIC SUBJECTS

Author Affiliations

BOSTON

From the Department of Neurology and Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School; the Psychiatric Service, Massachusetts General Hospital (Hall-Mercer Hospital), Boston, and the McLean Hospital, Waverley, Mass.

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1954;72(6):665-673. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1954.02330060001001
Abstract

CLINICALLY, psychological judgments about a person are made in large part through evaluation of linguistic phenomena. The ideas and notions expressed by the patient in talking, or as a response to psychological tests, provide the material from which inferences are made as to his personality. The use of recording devices makes available a permanent record, not only of what the patient says but of the particular manner and form in which he expresses himself. In previous papers on the language of manic1 and hysteric2 patients we have tried to show that the form of expression, as well as the content, is psychologically significant. The present paper is an extension of this study of the formal characteristics of language to obsessive-compulsive and paranoid schizophrenic patients.

The composition of the spoken language of an individual or group can be viewed as an equilibrium attained between two tendencies. Statistical properties, grammatical

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