The processing of humour by individuals suffering from schizophrenia

Eszter Varga, Róbert Herold, Zsuzsanna - Schnell, Réka Horvath, Mária Simon, András Hajnal, Tamás Tényi

Abstract


Humour is an important component of social cognition. The last few years of cognitive research of schizophrenia provided a considerable amount of empirical evidence about social cognitive impairments in this serious neurodevelopmental disorder. The aim of this study is to investigate verbal humour comprehension and its cognitive background in a group of schizophrenic patients with normal intelligence. Results showed that patients were practically unable to understand verbal jokes, Gricean implicatures, and second-order Theory of Mind (ToM) tasks, when compared with healthy subjects. As the statistical analysis shows, verbal joke comprehension of patients living with schizophrenia significantly correlated with the comprehension of the linguistic incongruity of the Gricean implicatures and with verbal intelligence. On the other hand, smooth handling of verbal jokes did not significantly depend on the comprehension of second-order ToM and did not correlate with the comprehension of the intended meaning of the speaker’s utterance in the Gricean implicatures’ tasks.

 


Keywords


schizophrenia, humour, Gricean implicatures, IQ, Theory of Mind

Full Text:

VIEW FULL TEXT HERE

References


Abu-Akel, A. (1999). ‘Impaired theory of mind in schizophrenia’. Pragmatics and Cognition 7 (2), pp. 247–282.

Attardo, S. (1994). ‘Linguistic theories of humour’. Studies in Language 22 (1), pp. 205–212.

Attardo, S. (1997). ‘Competition and cooperation: Beyond Gricean pragmatics’. Pragmatics and Cognition 5 (1), pp. 21–50.

Attardo, S., Hempelmann, C. F. & Di Maio, S. (2002). ‘Script oppositions and logical mechanisms: modeling incongruities and their resolutions’. HUMOR: International Journal of Humor Research 15 (1), pp. 3–46.

Bergen, B. & Binsted, K. (2003). ‘The cognitive linguistics of scalar humor’. Language, culture, and mind, pp. 79–92.

Bora, E., Gökçen, S., Kayahan, B. & Veznedaroglu, B. (2008). ‘Deficits of social-cognitive and social-perceptual aspects of theory of mind in remitted patients with schizophrenia: effect of residual symptoms’. The Journal of nervous and mental disease 196 (2), pp. 95–99.

Bora, E., Yucel, M. & Pantelis, C. (2009). ‘Theory of mind impairment in schizophrenia: meta-analysis’. Schizophrenia Research 109 (1–3), pp. 1–9.

Brothers, L. (1990). ‘The neural basis of primate social communication’. Motivation and Emotion 14 (2), pp. 81–91.

Brüne, M. & Bodenstein, L. (2005). ‘Proverb comprehension reconsidered – ‘theory of mind’ and the pragmatic use of language in schizophrenia’. Schizophrenia research 75 (2–3), pp. 233–239.

Champagne-Lavau, M. & Stip, E. (2010). ‘Pragmatic and executive dysfunction in schizophrenia’. Journal of Neurolinguistics 23 (3), pp. 285–296.

Colle, L., Angeleri, R., Vallana, M., Sacco, K., Bara, B.G. & Bosco, F.M. (2013). ‘Understanding the communicative impairments in schizophrenia: a preliminary study’. Journal in Communication Disorder 46 (3), pp. 294–308.

Coulson, S. (2001). Semantic leaps: Frame-shifting and conceptual blending in meaning construction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Corcoran, R. & Frith, C.D. (1996). ‘Conversational conduct and the symptoms of schizophrenia’. Cognitive Neuropsychiatry 1 (4), pp. 305–318.

Corcoran, R., Cahill, C. & Frith, C.D. (1997). ‘Appreciation of visual jokes in people with schizophrenia: a study of ‘mentalizing’ ability’. Schizophrenia Research 24 (3), pp. 319–327.

Dennett, D. C. (1989). The Intentional Stance. A Bradford Book.

Dennett, D. C. (1991). Consciousness Explained. Boston, MA: Little, Brown and Company.

Doody, G.A., Götz, M., Johnstone, E.C., Frith, C.D. & Owens, D.G. (1998). ‘Theory of mind and psychoses’. Psychological Medicine 28 (2), pp. 397–405.

Drury, V. M., Robinson, E. J. & Birchwood, M. (1998). ‘“Theory of mind” skills during an acute episode of psychosis and following recovery’. Psychological Medicine 28 (5), pp. 1101–1112.

Endicott, J. & Spitzer, R. L. (1978). ‘A diagnostic interview: the schedule for affective disorders and schizophrenia’. Archives of general psychiatry, 35 (7), pp. 837–844.

Forabosco, G. (2007). ‘The ill side of humor: Pathological conditions and sense of humor’, in Ruch, W. (eds.), Sense of humor: explorations of personality characteristic, New York: Mouton de Gruyter, pp. 271–292.

Frith, C. D. & Frith, U. (1999). ‘Interacting minds – a biological basis’. Science 286 (5445), pp. 1692–1695.

Gardner, H., Ling, P. K., Flamm, L. & Silverman, J. (1975). ‘Comprehension and appreciation of humorous material following brain damage’. Brain 98 (3), pp. 399–412.

Gavilán, J. M. & García-Albea, J. E. (2011). ‘Theory of mind and language comprehension in schizophrenia: Poor mind-reading effects figurative language comprehension beyond intelligence deficits’. Journal of Neurolinguistics 24, pp. 54–69.

Giora, R. (2002). ‘Literal vs. figurative language: Different or equal?’. Journal of Pragmatics 34 (4), pp. 487–506.

Grice, H.P. (1968). ‘Utterer's meaning, sentence-meaning and world meaning’. Foundations of Language 4 (3), pp. 225–242.

Grice, H.P. (1975). ‘Logic and conversation’, in Cole, R. & Morgan, J. (eds.), Syntax and semantics: Speech Acts, New York: Academic Press.

Herold, R., Tényi, T., Lénárd, K. & Trixler, M. (2002). ‘Theory of mind deficit in people with schizophrenia during remission’. Psychological Medicine 32 (6), pp. 1125–1129.

Inoue, Y., Yamada, K., Hirano, M., Shinohara, M., Tamaoki, T., Iguchi, H., Tonooka, Y. & Kanba, S. (2006). ‘Impairment of theory of mind in patients in remission following first episode of schizophrenia’. European Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience 256 (5), pp. 326–328.

Ivanova, A. M., Enikolopov, S. N. & Mitina, O. V. (2014). ‘Sense of humor disorders in patients with schizophrenia and affective disorder’. Psychology of Russia 7 (1), pp. 146–157.

Kay, S. R. & Opler, L. A. (1987). ‘The positive-negative dimension in schizophrenia: its validity and significance’. Psychiatric developments, 5 (2), pp. 79–103.

Kotthoff, H. (2006). ‘Gender and humour: The state of the art’. Journal of Pragmatics 38 (1), pp. 4–25.

Langdon, R., Davies, M. & Coltheart, M. (2002a). ‘Understanding minds and understanding communicated meanings in schizophrenia’. Mind & Language 17 (1–2), pp. 68–104.

Langdon, R., Coltheart, M., Ward, P. B. & Catts, S. V. (2002b). ‘Disturbed communication in schizophrenia: the role of poor pragmatics and poor mind reading’. Psychological Medicine 32 (7), pp. 1273–1284.

Mancher, M. (1980). ‘How to play games with words: Speech-act jokes’. Journal of Literary Semantics 9 (1), pp. 20–29.

Marjoram, D., Tansley, H., Miller, P., MacIntyre, D., Owens, D. G., Johnstone, E. C. & Lawrie, S. (2005). ‘A theory of mind investigation into the appreciation of visual jokes in schizophrenia’. BMC Psychiatry 5 (12).

Martin, R. A. (2007). The Psychology of Humor: An integrative approach. Burlington, MA: Elsevier Academic Press.

Mazza, M., Michele, V. D., Pollice, R., Casacchia, M. & Roncone, R. (2008). ‘Pragmatic language and theory of mind deficits in people with schizophrenia and their relatives’. Psychopathology 41 (4), pp. 254–263.

Mo, S., Su, Y., Chan, R. C. K. & Liu, J. (2008). ‘Comprehension of metaphor and irony in schizophrenia during remission: The role of theory of mind and IQ’. Psychiatry Research 157 (1–3), pp. 21–29.

Nemesi, A. L. (2009). Alakzatok kérdése a pragmatikában. Budapest: Loisir Publishing Group.

Nie, N. H. (1975). SPSS: statistical package for the social sciences. McGraw-Hill Companies.

Pinkham, A. E., Penn, D. L., Green, M. F. & Healey, K. P. (2014). ‘The social cognition Psychometric Evaluation study: results of the expert survey and RAND panel’. Schizophrenia Bulletin 40 (4), pp. 813–823.

Polimeni, J. & Reiss, J. P. (2006). ‘Humor perception deficit in schizophrenia’. Psychiatry Research 141 (2), pp. 347–366.

Polimeni, J. O., Campbell, D. W., Gill, D., Sawatzky, B. L. & Reiss, J.P. (2010). ‘Diminished humour perception in schizophrenia: relationship to social and cognitive functioning’. Journal of Psychiatry Research 44 (7), pp. 434–440.

Schnell, Zs. (2012). ‘The development of humour competence in Hungarian children – a cognitive approach’, in T. Litovkina, A., Szőllősy, J., Medgyes, P., Chłopicki, W. (eds.), Hungarian Humour. Humor and Culture 3, Cracow: Tertium Society for the Promotion of Language Studies, pp. 235–251.

Schnell, Zs. & Varga, E. (2012). ‘Humour, irony and social cognition’, in T. Litovkina, A., Szőllősy, J., Medgyes, P., Chłopicki, W. (eds.), Hungarian Humour. Humor and Culture 3, Cracow: Tertium Society for the Promotion of Language Studies, pp. 253–270.

Sperber, D. & Wilson, D. (1986). Relevance: Communication and cognition. Oxford: Blackwell.

Sperber, D. (2000). Metarepresentations: A Multidisciplinary Perspective. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Sullivan, K., Zaitchik, D. & Tager-Flusberg, H. (1994). ‘Preschoolers can attribute second-order beliefs’. Developmental Psychology, 30 (3), pp. 395–402.

Suls, J. M. (2007). ‘Cognitive processes in humour appreciation’, in Baldwin, E. (eds.), Humor perception: The contribution of cognitive factors. Georgia State University.

Tényi, T., Herold, R., Szili, I. M. & Trixler, M. (2002). ‘Schizophrenics show a failure in the decoding of violations of conversational implicatures’. Psychopathology 35 (1), pp. 25–27.

Tsoi, D. T., Lee, K. H., Gee, K. A., Holden, K. L., Parks, R. W. & Woodruff, P.W. (2008). ‘Humour experience in schizophrenia: relationship with executive dysfunction and psychosocial impairment’. Psychological Medicine 38 (6), pp. 801–810.

Uekermann, J., Channon, S., Winkel, K., Schlebusch, P. & Daum, I. (2006). ‘Theory of mind, humour processing and executive functioning in alcoholism’. Addiction 102, pp. 232–240.

Varga, E., Simon, M., Tényi, T., Schnell, Zs., Hajnal, A., Orsi, G., Dóczi, T., Komoly, S., Janszky, J., Füredi, R., Hamvas, E., Fekete, S. & Herold, R. (2013). ‘Irony comprehension and context processing in schizophrenia during remission – A functional MRI study’. Brain and Language 126 (3), 231–242.

Varga, E., Schnell, Zs., Tényi, T., Németh, N., Simon, M., Hajnal, A., Horváth, R., Hamvas, E., Járai, R., Fekete & S. Herold, R. (2014). ‘Compensatory effect of general cognitive skills on non-literal language processing in schizophrenia’. Journal of Neurolinguistics 29, 1–16.

Veatch, T.C. (1998). ‘A theory of humor’. HUMOR: International Journal of Humor Research 11, pp. 161–215.

Wechsler, D. (2007). The Measurement of Adult Intelligence. Kessinger Pub Co.

Winner, E., Brownell, H., Happé, F., Blum, A. & Pincus, D. (1998): ‘Distinguishing lies from jokes: Theory of mind deficit and discourse interpretation in right hemisphere brain damage patients’. Brain and Language 62, pp. 89–106.

Witztum, E., Briskin S. & Lerner, V. (1999). ‘The use of humor with chronic schizophrenic patients’. Journal of Contemporary Psychoterapy 29 (3), pp. 223–234.

Woodruff, G. & Premack, D. (1978). ‘Does the Chimpanzee Have a Theory of Mind’. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 4, pp. 515–526.




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7592/EJHR2016.4.1.varga

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


Publication ethics and malpractice statement