Seminar: The ‘abnormal social development hypothesis’ of schizophrenia

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

Tom Froese
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.



  1. Paulo said,

    July 31, 2010 at 11:41 am

    Dear Tom,

    This sounds really interesting, I would love to read the paper. Would it be at all possible to have a draft?


    • Tom Froese said,

      August 1, 2010 at 3:32 pm

      Dear Paulo,

      Thanks for your message! I’ve written a first, rough draft of this paper, but it is still too unfinished to be passed around unfortunately. I’ll try to remember to send you a draft when it’s at a stage where it can be distributed for some comments and feedback.

      All the best,

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