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July 1967

Competing Voice Messages: Effects of Message Load and Drugs on the Ability of Acute Schizophrenics to Attend

Author Affiliations

San Jose, Calif
From the State of California Health and Welfare Agency. Department of Mental Hygiene, Agnews State Hospital, San Jose, Calif.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1967;17(1):97-103. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1967.01730250099014

IN THIS STUDY an investigation is made of the effects of chlorpromazine, perphenazine, and sodium pentobarbital on the ability of acute schizophrenic patients to attend to one of a varying number of competing voice messages. Also, comparative analyses are made of the performance of acute and chronic schizophrenic patients and normal subjects on a similar task when no drugs are employed. Analyses are made of both intelligibility scores and omission errors.

Rappaport1 has reported that when several simultaneous voices are presented through earphones so that only one voice is diotic (appears in both ears simultaneously) while competing voices are dichotic (simultaneous but different voices in each ear), chlorpromazine (50% mg) impairs the intelligibility scores of normal subjects but does not appear to have any effect on the scores of chronic schizophrenic patients. When drugs are not employed, normal subjects perform consistently, if not always

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