The central goal of the work that is reported in this chapter has been to arrive at an understanding of the pathology/ies that underlie the manifest cognitive disorders in schizophrenia. A satisfactory understanding – still a great way off – would ultimately encompass an unbroken chain of links from the manifest clinical symptomatology, through a fine-grain account of the functional anomalies of psychological processes such as memory, associational activation, attentional deployment, language plan formation, and so on, to the neuropsychological processes that produce these anomalies, and thence to the physical, biochemical, and genetic events that control the neuropsychology. In this volume, different investigators work at different interfaces in this explanatory sequence. Our work has been primarily at the interface between the manifest clinical phenomena – the symptoms – and the operation of basic psychological processes involved in information processing, i.e., language and thought, and memory.
This work has been done mostly at the Massachusetts General Hospital, the Erich Lindemann Center in Boston, the New Hampshire Hospital in Concord, plus, in recent years, the Psychiatrische Universitatsklinik at Heidelberg. Many people have worked with us, as students and colleagues. In most cases they have collaborated in our own planned research; in others we have collaborated with work primarily developed and managed by distinguished colleagues in other institutions. Before turning to an account of the research, we think it may be helpful to consider first certain important issues of methodology.