Semester of Graduation

Spring 2018

Degree

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Psychology

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

Diminished vocal expressivity, defined in terms of a diminution in speech production and intonation/emphasis, is a chronic symptom in schizophrenia. On interview-based measures of vocal deficits, clinicians typically rate patients with schizophrenia 4 to 6 SDs below their non-patient peers. However, recent studies utilizing objective computerized measures have failed to observe vocal expressivity deficits that approach this level. It may be that vocal deficits can only be understood within the boundaries of dyadic exchanges during interview-based assessments. Vocal accommodation, or the degree to which vocal characteristics (i.e., mean F0) between interlocutors synchronize over time, has been linked to enhanced social affiliation and may useful for understanding this discrepancy in the literature. The current study sought to leverage computerized technologies to determine whether vocal accommodation during structured clinical interviews unduly influences clinical ratings of vocal expression in schizophrenia. Overall, both controls (n = 30) and patients with schizophrenia (n = 57) exhibited vocal accommodation of mean F0 with their respective partners during a clinical interview, though at varying degrees. Contrary to expectations, vocal accommodation during a clinical interview did not significantly predict clinical ratings of vocal deficits in schizophrenia. The current findings extend the literature on communicative and social skills in schizophrenia. Implications and directions for future research are discussed.

Date

1-26-2018

Committee Chair

Cohen, Alex S.

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