Making Sense of an Endorsement Model of Thought‐Insertion

Mind and Language 29 (5):590-612 (2014)

Authors
Michael Sollberger
University of Lausanne
Abstract
Experiences of thought-insertion are a first-rank, diagnostically central symptom of schizophrenia. Schizophrenic patients who undergo such delusional mental states report being first-personally aware of an occurrent conscious thought which is not theirs, but which belongs to an external cognitive agent. Patients seem to be right about what they are thinking but mistaken about who is doing the thinking. It is notoriously difficult to make sense of such delusions. One general approach to explaining the etiology of monothematic delusions has come to be known as the endorsement model. This model claims that the patient holds her delusional belief because she simply trusts her bizarre experience and takes it at face value. The content of the bizarre experience thus plays a central role in the etiology of delusions. Despite being widely discussed with respect to delusions like Capgras and Cotard, an endorsement model of thought-insertion has not yet been formulated. This article seeks to fill this void by fleshing out and defending the endorsement approach to delusions of inserted thoughts. It aims to show that such an approach can be defended against objections that have been raised in the literature. In particular, it will be argued that there is nothing wrong with the idea of being first-personally aware of a thought which is presented in consciousness as being someone else's. The upshot is that with respect to delusions of thought-insertion, the endorsement model turns out to be a viable account of why patients come to believe that someone else is inserting thoughts into their minds
Keywords delusion  thought-insertion  schizophrenia  endorsement model
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DOI 10.1111/mila.12067
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