Review of Philosophy and Psychology

, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp 577–594 | Cite as

Schizophrenia and the Place of Egodystonic States in the Aetiology of Thought Insertion



Despite the diagnostic relevance of thought insertion for disorders such as schizophrenia, the debates about its aetiology are far from resolved. This paper claims that in paying exclusive attention to the perceptual and cognitive impairments leading to delusional experiences in general, current deficit approaches overlook the role that affective disturbances might play in giving rise to cases of thought insertion. In the context of psychosis, affective impairments are often characterized as a consequence of the stress and anxiety caused by delusional episodes. However, here I explore some of the conceptual and empirical reasons to think that affective problems might in fact play a crucial doxastic role in the aetiology of thought insertion. Finally, I conclude by proposing a way of integrating the main insights of my analysis with the current ‘two-factor’ deficit approach to thought insertion and I explore the potential adaptive role that some delusions might have within this framework.


External Attribution Persecutive Delusion Obsessive Thought Thought Insertion Thought Formation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I would like to thank to Dr Joel Smith, Prof Tim Bayne, Prof Dr Thomas Fuchs, and the two anonymous referees provided by the journal for helpful comments on sections of this paper. Preliminary versions were presented in Symposium: From mental illness to disorder and diversity of the Meeting of The Society for the Study of Artificial Intelligence and Simulation of Behaviour (AISB), University of Kent (United Kingdom), and at the Heidelberg University Clinic for General Psychiatry ‘Kolloquium der Sektion Phänomenologie’ (Germany).

Financial support

The writing of this paper has been supported by the BECAS-CHILE programme of the National Commission for Science and Technology, CONICYT (Government of Chile), and partially supported by the Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD) Scholarship for Young Researchers.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Manchester Mind Group, Department of PhilosophyThe University of Manchester, U.KManchesterUK
  2. 2.Centre of Psychosocial Medicine, Department of General Psychiatry, Section PhenomenologyThe University of HeidelbergHeidelbergGermany

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