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A number of recent articles, many appearing in Schizophrenia Bulletin, signal a renewed interest in phenomenological approaches to our understanding of schizophrenia. These approaches conceptualize schizophrenia as a disorder of altered self-awareness and decreased prereflective social attunement, which may manifest as an impaired understanding of self, others, and the physical world. Phenomenological approaches to psychopathology are sometimes construed as being incompatible with the reductionistic methodology of contemporary neuroscience. In this article, we re-examine findings from the phenomenological investigation of schizophrenia in light of an influential neurocomputational account of mindreading, which postulates that understanding of others is subserved by coherent internal self-models. We argue that the phenomenological approach to schizophrenia is not incompatible with a neurocomputational account of mindreading, and that the 2 approaches should instead be viewed as existing in a relationship of mutual constraint and enlightenment. Our hypothesis, while speculative, is an attempt to marry the phenomenological and neuronal realities of schizophrenia. Furthermore, it has implications for psychotherapeutic interventions and future research.

Original publication




Journal article


Schizophr Bull

Publication Date





1214 - 1219


Bayesian inference, phenomenology, predictive coding, self-disorder, Humans, Schizophrenia, Self Concept, Social Perception, Theory of Mind