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July 1963

Selectivity of Attention, Withdrawal, and Cortical Activation: Studies in Chronic Schizophrenia

Author Affiliations

Medical Research Council, Social Psychiatry Research Unit, Institute of Psychiatry, Maudsley Hospital.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1963;9(1):74-78. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1963.01720130076008

Introduction  Social withdrawal is a characteristic feature of many chronic schizophrenic patients. The degree of withdrawal in nonparanoid patients has been shown (Venables and Wing, 1962) to be related to their levels of cortical and autonomic arousal, the most withdrawn being the most aroused. This rather surprising relationship between a socially defined feature of the patient and indices of his physiological activity may be illuminated if some more restricted aspects of behavior which might be considered as constituents of withdrawal could be shown to be functionally related to measures of physiological activity. One such aspect which is considered in this paper is restriction of the field of attention.Easterbrook (1959), in a discussion of the effects of emotion on behavior, has proposed that emotional arousal acts to reduce the range of cues that the organism uses. Callaway and his associates (1953, 1958) have suggested that the

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