During my stay at the Center for Psychosocial Medicine of the University Hospital of Heidelberg I gave the following presentation:
The ‘abnormal social development hypothesis’ of schizophrenia
12 July 2010
While standard accounts in the cognitive sciences have offered explanations in terms of intellectual malfunction, more phenomenologically inspired approaches have emphasized the disintegration of the lived body and the disruption of interpersonal relations as core features of the condition. Focusing on the latter, we take ‘why do some schizophrenics experience intersubjectivity as an existential threat?’ as the guiding question. By drawing on insights from the phenomenology of intersubjectivity, the enactive approach to social cognition, and dynamical systems models of social interaction, we argue that bodily and intersubjective aspects of existence are fundamentally inseparable. On this basis we suggest that the defining symptoms of schizophrenia are best explained by the occurrence of an abnormal process of development during puberty.