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December 1972

Auditory Signal Detection in Paranoid and Nonparanoid Schizophrenics

Author Affiliations

San Jose, Calif
From Agnews State Hospital, San Jose, Calif.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1972;27(6):747-752. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1972.01750300019003

Differences in auditory signal detection between paranoid and nonparanoid schizophrenics were examined on and off phenothiazine medication.

Compared to normals: (1) paranoids detected signals less accurately and used more conservative decision-making criteria; (2) nonparanoids detected signals less accurately under easy signal-to-noise (S/N) conditions but as well as normals under difficult conditions, they were neither more nor less conservative in the criteria they adopted; and (3) paranoid and nonparanoid subjects had a constant number of commission errors under all S/N conditions, while normals showed an increase with each decrease in S/N ratio.

No significant overall effect of phenothiazine medication on the signal-detection performance of schizophrenics was found. A significant interaction between dosage level and diagnosis was found. The signal-detection measure (d') does not appear to be a direct measure of sensory sensitivity in schizophrenics.