Date of Award
Bachelor of Science (BS)
Department of Psychology
Thought derailment, a subtype of formal thought disorder characterized by ideas in speech not following logically from previously expressed ideas (Andreasen, 1979), is most commonly seen in patients with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. The current study examined how the presence of thought derailment might predict verbal episodic memory performance as measured by the California Verbal Learning Test– Second Edition (CVLT-II). Past research has found that people with severe thought disorder perform poorer on measures of recall and categorization, which are important components of the CVLT-II (Jamadar et al., 2012; Kerns & Berenbaum, 2002; Nestor et al., 1998; Stirling et al., 2006). My sample was taken from consecutive referrals to the neuropsychology lab of a state psychiatric hospital, 188 patients had ratings on a 5-point scale for thought derailment. Of those who were given the CVLT-II, 31 patients were judged not to have thought derailment (rating of 0) and 40 were given a rating between 1 and 4. Several variables of the CVLT-II (immediate free/cued recall, delayed free/cued recall, false positive recognition, and intrusions) were correlated with thought derailment and only false positive recognition showed a significant correlation (r =.28, p=.02). False positive recognition was also the only variable of interest to account for significant variance in thought derailment (R2= 0.07, p= 0.03). The findings are discussed in terms of the literature hypothesizing an underlying deficit in lexical semantic memory access in thought disordered patients.
Kovach, Shannon Leigh, "Thought derailment as a predictor of verbal memory performance in people with a serious mental illness" (2014). Senior Honors Projects, 2010-current. 441.