Der Effekt kurzer Gestikübungen auf die Bewertung von konkreten und abstrakten Sätzen bei Patient*innen mit Schizophrenie

Störungen der Kommunikation stellen ein stabiles Merkmal der Schizophrenie dar. Sowohl Sprache als auch Gestik scheinen in ihrer Produktion und Perzeption (d.h. Verstehen und Interpretation) beeinträchtigt. Dabei wurde vielfach beschrieben, dass es vor allem bei abstrakten (im Vergleich zu konkreten...

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Bibliographic Details
Main Author: Nonnenmann, Annika
Contributors: Straube, Benjamin (Prof. Dr.) (Thesis advisor)
Format: Doctoral Thesis
Published: Philipps-Universität Marburg 2021
Online Access:PDF Full Text
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Communication disorders represent a stable feature of schizophrenia. Both speech and gestures seem to be impaired in their production and perception (i.e., comprehension and interpretation). In this context, it has been described many times that comprehension difficulties occur especially with abstract (compared to concrete) content. Pharmaceutical and psychotherapeutic approaches have so far mainly been directed against the productive symptoms of schizophrenia, which makes it all the more important to focus attention in possible therapy options for negative symptoms as well. Accordingly, the effects of a brief speech- gesture intervention on dysfunctional speech processing in schizophrenia patients should be investigated for the first time. Methods The study included a 30-minute speech-gesture intervention, which was conducted with 30 schizophrenia patients. The aim was to explore whether and to what extent patients benefit from coverbal perceived and produced gestures during the processing of a language categorization task (assignment of a sentence to the category "abstract" or "concrete"). The behavioral data "reaction time" and "correctness", which were collected before and after the intervention, were used as measuring instruments. Through a stage-like design of the intervention, we hope to be able to extract the effect of coverbal gestures on language comprehension. Results The collected data showed significant intervention-dependent effects on both dependent variables: faster reaction time of abstract and concrete sentences and more correct categorizations of abstract sentences. The size of the effect increased, at least nominally, for abstract sentences (correctness) and for abstract and concrete sentences (reaction time) with the extent of the intervention (control < speech perception < speech and gesture perception < speech and gesture perception and production). This suggests a positive effect of both coverbal perceived and produced gestures on language comprehension. 86 Discussion The intervention induced improvement of concrete and abstract sentences in terms of the reaction time can be interpreted in terms of a better memory path or faster semantic access. The intervention-dependent effect of abstract sentences in terms of an increase in correct evaluations suggests a positive influence of coverbal gestures on the generation of abstract concepts. This observation is of particular importance since dysfunctional integration of abstract gestures has been described in patients. However, the data in our patient collective suggest that patients nevertheless benefit from coverbal abstract gestures and thus could be trained to functionally process abstract concepts. The intervention effect was observed for specific sentences that were part of the speech-gesture intervention. If a general mechanism were trained by the speech- gesture intervention, patients should also show improvements in the language categorization task in the control condition. Although the gesture intervention conditions nominally showed the largest effects, it cannot yet be ultimately concluded from the current data that the observed improvements are due to the perception and production of coverbal gestures. This doubt in conclusion is due to a lack of significance (or at most trends) in the post-hoc analysis. This could be due, among other things, to the large variance within the sample, which is why future studies should explore whether, within the heterogeneous disorder pattern of schizophrenia, patients with certain symptom complexes (such as speech-associated deficits) might benefit particularly. Conclusion In summary, by conducting this study, we were able to show that even a brief speech-gesture intervention can improve speech categorization performance in schizophrenia patients, which appears extremely promising in terms of future studies that also consider neural data and social effects.