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  1. Stephanie C. Marcello,
  2. Steven M. Silverstein

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0820

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Marcello, S. C. and Silverstein, S. M. 2010. Schizophrenia. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–4.

Author Information

  1. University Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Schizophrenia is a severe mental disorder that is characterized by abnormal sensory experiences, or hallucinations (e.g., hearing voices that are not there); odd beliefs not shared by those around you, or delusions (e.g., that one is being followed by the FBI or that one's thoughts can be heard by nearby people); loss of normal functions such as motivation and anticipating pleasure (i.e., negative symptoms); cognitive impairment; and problems in social functioning. It is a heterogeneous disorder, in that the extent and severity of the symptoms, cognitive deficits, and social dysfunction vary among individuals. The diagnosis of schizophrenia is based on meeting criteria for the presence of symptoms, decline in functioning, and level of disability and on ruling out other possible causes of the symptoms (e.g., certain neurological disorders, substance abuse). There is no laboratory or medical test that can be used to diagnosis this disorder. One theory is that schizophrenia is not a single disease but an array of disorders that share a final common pathway leading to the brain abnormalities and clinical features associated with this diagnosis.


  • schizophrenia;
  • psychosis;
  • schizophrenia treatment