Title page for ETD etd-0523102-211853

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Combs, Dennis R.
Author's Email Address Dcombs@lsu.edu
URN etd-0523102-211853
Title The Role of Attention in Affect Perception: An Examination of Mirsky's Four Factor Model of Attention in Chronic Schizophrenia
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Psychology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Wm. Drew Gouvier Committee Chair
Amy L. Copeland Committee Member
Claire Advokat Committee Member
Johnny L. Matson Committee Member
Diane Burts Dean's Representative
  • attention
  • affect perception
  • schizophrenia
Date of Defense 2001-09-21
Availability unrestricted
Attention and affect perception was examined in a sample of sixty-five persons with chronic schizophrenia. Attentional skills may be related to deficits in affect perception due to a lack of attention to important information contained in the face. Deficits of this sort can dramatically inhibit appropriate social functioning. However, there is a lack of empirical research on this topic. Mirsky's four factor model of attention was used as a broad-based assessment of attentional functioning. The four factors of attention were: 1) Focus-Execute, 2) Encode, 3) Sustain, and 4) Shift. Neuropsychological measures reflective of attentional factor were administered. In this study, Mirsky's four factor model of attention was replicated, and four clear factors of attention emerged from the analysis. In addition, a regression analysis showed that all four attentional factors and psychiatric diagnosis were significantly related to affect perception scores. In contrast, psychiatric symptoms, medication levels, demographic variables, verbal fluency, and face perception scores were unrelated to affect perception. The four factors of attention accounted for 78% of the variance in affect perception scores. Finally, persons who scored high and low on the affect perception measures were also found to differ on the attentional measures as well. All of these results point to the important role that attentional abilities play in the recognition of emotional states for persons with schizophrenia.
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