One of the most debilitating features of schizophrenia is patients' difficulty interacting with others. An important part of successful interaction is the ability to reason -- not only about the relation between the discourse and the world, but also about the reasoning of other dialogue participants. This project aims to investigate and model how people reason in natural language dialogue, using the notion of enthymemes, and how this reasoning ability is different in patients with schizophrenia.

We hypothesise that the social cognition impairments seen in patients with schizophrenia are underpinned by difficulties associated with the resources used in reasoning as it occurs in everyday interaction.

Through access to a unique corpus of patients' triadic interactions we have the opportunity to explore reasoning in patients' face-to-face dialogues to investigate this theory. Furthermore, we will identify and analyse verbal and nonverbal markers of social impairments during reasoning, using state of the art methods from computational linguistics and gesture research.

Specifically, this project will address the following questions:

(1) In terms of natural language reasoning, how do patients with schizophrenia differ from their healthy interlocutors (patients' partners) and how do both of these groups differ from participants in dialogues without a patient (controls)?
    (a) How do the participants reason -- are there  differences between the groups in terms of the arguments they use and how they express them?
    (b) Are there differences between the groups during reasoning sequences in terms of verbal dialogue behaviour (e.g. the use of repair, specific words and expressions)?
    (c) Does the use of head and hand gesture during reasoning sequences differ between patients, patients' partners and controls?
(2) How do these factors interact and can we give a precise account of any differences?

This project is being funded by Riksbankens jubileumsfond, between 2017 and 2020 (P16-0805:1).

The project plan can be accessed here.


Breitholtz, E. & Howes, C (2017). Dialogical Reasoning in Patients with Schizophrenia - Invited Talk. In (In)Coherence of Discourse 4. Nancy, France. [More] [Slides] [Bibtex]

Howes, C., Lavelle, M., Healey, P. G., Hough, J. & McCabe, R (2017). Disfluencies in dialogues with patients with schizophrenia. In Proceedings of the 39th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society. London, UK. [More] [Digital version] [Bibtex]

Howes, C., Lavelle, M., Healey, P. G., Hough, J. & McCabe, R (2017). Do patients with schizophrenia do dialogue differently?. In Proceedings of the 7th Joint Action Meeting (JAM). London, UK. [More] [Slides] [Bibtex]

Howes, C., Lavelle, M., Healey, P. G., Hough, J. & McCabe, R (2017). Self-repair in dialogue with patients with schizophrenia. In Communication and Cognition - Miscommunication: Getting lost in language(s). [More] [Digital version] [Slides] [Bibtex]