Proverb interpretation in schizophrenia: The significance of symptomatology and cognitive processes

Scott R. Sponheim, Christa Surerus-Johnson, Jennie Leskela, Michael E Dieperink

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Although clinicians have patients interpret proverbs in mental status exams for psychosis, there are few empirical studies investigating the significance of proverb interpretation. In schizophrenia patients, we found abstraction positively correlated with overall intelligence but no symptom measures, concreteness negatively correlated with overall intelligence, executive functioning, attention, and memory, and bizarre-idiosyncratic responses associated with positive formal thought disorder but no cognitive functions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117-123
Number of pages7
JournalSchizophrenia Research
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Dec 15 2003

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Charles A. Peterson Ph.D. for presenting ideas pertinent to this work. The work was supported in part by a grant from the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Research Service (Dr. Sponheim) and the Minnesota Medical Foundation (SMF-2004-98, Dr. Sponheim), and the Mental Health Patient Service Line at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Minneapolis, MN. Presented in part at the Eighth International Congress on Schizophrenia Research, Whistler, British Columbia, April, 2001.


  • Cognition
  • Concreteness
  • Proverb interpretation
  • Schizophrenia
  • Symptomatology
  • Thought disorder


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