Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Inconsistent findings within three areas of schizoprenia research--processing of stimulus characteristics, attention, and hemispheric functional asymmetry--suggested the importance of examining the attentional resources associated with the cerebral hemispheres among schizophrenics. A cognitive task battery was developed which assessed the functioning of the left and right hemispheres under varying attentional loads. This battery was administered to paranoid and nonparanoid schizophrenics, and three control groups. Error rate and reaction time were monitored. It was found that the schizophrenics, particularly the nonparanoids, displayed evidence of a generalized decrease in available resources across attentional pools. In addition, overall reaction time data suggested the existence of internally generated attentional loads associated with the left hemisphere in paranoids, and the right hemisphere in nonparanoids. These loads appeared to affect hemispheric functioning without interacting with the differential sensitivity of the hemispheres to stimulus characteristics. The findings were speculatively interpreted as indicating the deployment of anomalous attentional strategies by schizophrenics, rather than directly resulting from defective cognitive structures.



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