It is no joke. Metaphorical language and sense of humor in schizophrenia
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Śląski Uniwersytet Medyczny w Katowicach, Wydział Nauk o Zdrowiu w Katowicach, Katedra Nauk Społecznych i Humanistycznych, Zakład Psychologii
Śląski Uniwersytet Medyczny w Katowicach, Wydział Lekarski w Katowicach, Katedra Psychiatrii i Psychoterapii, Klinika Rehabilitacji Psychiatrycznej
Submission date: 2019-01-24
Acceptance date: 2019-06-19
Online publication date: 2020-08-31
Publication date: 2020-08-31
Corresponding author
Julia Wyszomirska   

Zakład Psychologii, Katedra Nauk Społecznych i Humanistycznych, Śląski Uniwersytet Medyczny w Katowicach
Psychiatr Pol 2020;54(4):687-700
The sense of humor has a positive influence on mental and social functioning of humans by supporting interpersonal competences and effective coping with difficult situations. The aim of this study was to present research conducted to this date and concerning processing of humoristic content by people with schizophrenia in relation to cognitive deficits associated with this illness and their neurobiological background. Understanding of humor and its effective use require many linguistic and extralingustic skills, including processing of signals from social environment, such as correct recognition of emotional messages, understanding of a context of a humoristic situation, or drawing correct conclusions on a mental status of other people. An efficient use of the metaphorical language allows experiencing amusement resulting from inaccuracies, different semantic interpretations, irony, and sarcasm. A tendency for excessive concretism reflected in problems with understanding nonliteral content and semantically complex language structures, as well as other cognitive deficits observed in schizophrenia patients, frequently hinder the use of humoristic messages. Better understanding of mechanisms controlling the effective use of humor may help to develop therapeutic tools to improve the communication efficiency of schizophrenia patients, as well as positively influence their social functioning.
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