Thought insertion as a disownership symptom

Michelle Maiese

pp. 911-927

Stephens and Graham (2000) maintain that in cases of thought insertion, the sense of ownership is preserved, but there is a defect in the sense of agency (i.e. the sense that one is the author or initiator of the thought). However, these theorists overlook the possibility that subjectivity might be preserved despite a defect in the sense of ownership. The claim that schizophrenia centers upon a loss of a sense of ownership is supported by an examination of some of the other notable disownership symptoms of the disorder, such as bodily alienation and experiences of "unworlding." Is there a way to make sense of the "underlying characteristic modification" that ties together the various symptoms of schizophrenia and disrupts subjects' "hold" on their own bodies and surroundings? I will argue that what accounts for subjects' usual sense of ownership are fully embodied processes of causal-contextual information integration, which are made possible by subjects' affective framing patterns. Attenuated affective framings lead to a loss of a sense of ownership and cause subjects to lose their "grip" on bodily sensations and mental states, which ultimately can result in experiences of thought insertion. I will conclude with some brief remarks about implications for treatment, and point to several body-centered intervention methods that might help to restore subjects' sense of ownership.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/s11097-014-9387-6

Full citation:

Maiese, M. (2015). Thought insertion as a disownership symptom. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 14 (4), pp. 911-927.

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