What is linguistic creativity in schizophrenia?


  • Oliver Delgaram-Nejad Manchester Metropolitan University
  • Gerasimos Chatzidamianos Manchester Metropolitan University
  • Dawn Archer Manchester Metropolitan University
  • Samuel Larner Manchester Metropolitan University




schizophrenia, thought disorder, creativity, language communication


Background: In an experiment in which clinicians were asked to identify formal thought disorder (FTD) in schizophrenia based on writing samples, the mania and creative writing samples received more FTD diagnoses than the FTD samples. We conducted a systematic review to see whether figuration, associated with both schizophrenia and creative uses of language, could contextualize these findings.

Methods: This was a systematic review only (PROSPERO ID:116255). We searched AMED, Child Development and Adolescent Studies, CINAHL, MEDLINE, PsycARTICLES, and PsycINFO.

Results. Many studies used figuration tasks to test creativity and vice versa, and key factors affecting figurative language output and processing were positive and negative symptom ratios, IQ, and schizophrenia subtype.

Discussion/conclusion: Our review suggests that the clinicians in the experiment mentioned above perceived FTD as characterized by linguistic markers of verbal and figural creativity that are impacted by FTD itself. FTD is more likely characterized by expressional disfluencies in specific contexts.

Author Biographies

Oliver Delgaram-Nejad, Manchester Metropolitan University

Oliver Delgaram-Nejad is a PhD candidate in linguistics and psychology at the Manchester Metropolitan University. His thesis combines corpus linguistic, experimental psycholinguistic, and complementary qualitative approaches to language and creativity in schizophrenia. Specifically, his work explores the production and comprehension of figurative language both within and outside the context of formal thought disorder.

Gerasimos Chatzidamianos, Manchester Metropolitan University

Dr. Gerasimos Chatzidamianos, FHEA, CPsychol, is an experimental psycholinguist who completed his MPhil and PhD research at the Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Cambridge, UK, exploring certain psycholinguistic manifestations of schizophrenia in deaf adults. A qualified psychology practitioner in Greece (Department of Psychology, University of Athens, Greece), and a qualified teacher in special education, Gerasimos is currently a senior lecturer in psychology at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Dawn Archer, Manchester Metropolitan University

Dawn Archer is a professor of pragmatics and corpus linguistics at Manchester Metropolitan University. As well as research interests falling within the areas of pragmatics and corpus linguistics, she undertakes forensic linguistic investigations. Current projects include (but are not limited to) her work with police crisis negotiators, exploring the language of negotiation and influence with persons in crisis, and her work on deception detection, with a range of professional groups/associations.

Samuel Larner, Manchester Metropolitan University

Dr. Samuel Larner, FHEA, is a senior lecturer in forensic linguistics at Manchester Metropolitan University. His research to date has been in the areas of forensic authorship analysis, deception detection, and forensic linguistics methods. More recent projects are related to the youth justice system and disclosures of adverse childhood experiences.


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How to Cite

Delgaram-Nejad, O. ., Chatzidamianos, G., Archer, D., & Larner, S. . (2021). What is linguistic creativity in schizophrenia?. Journal of Interactional Research in Communication Disorders, 11(2), 194–216. https://doi.org/10.1558/jircd.19727