Metacognitive function and fragmentation in schizophrenia: Relationship to cognition, self-experience and developing treatments

Paul H. Lysaker, Kyle S. Minor, John T. Lysaker, Ilanit Hasson-Ohayon, Kelsey Bonfils, Jesse Hochheiser, Jenifer L. Vohs

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Bleuler suggested that fragmentation of thought, emotion and volition were the unifying feature of the disorders he termed schizophrenia. In this paper we review research seeking to measure some of the aspects of fragmentation related to the experience of the self and others described by Bleuler. We focus on work which uses the concept of metacognition to characterize and quantify alterations or decrements in the processes by which fragments or pieces of information are integrated into a coherent sense of self and others. We describe the rationale and support for one method for quantifying metacognition and its potential to study the fragmentation of a person's sense of themselves, others and the relative place of themselves and others in the larger human community. We summarize research using that method which suggests that deficits in metacognition commonly occur in schizophrenia and are related to basic neurobiological indices of brain functioning. We also present findings indicating that the capacity for metacognition in schizophrenia is positively related to a broad range of aspects of psychological and social functioning when measured concurrently and prospectively. Finally, we discuss the evolution and study of one therapy that targets metacognitive capacity, Metacognitive Reflection and Insight Therapy (MERIT) and its potential to treat fragmentation and promote recovery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100142
JournalSchizophrenia Research: Cognition
StatePublished - Mar 2020


  • Insight
  • Metacognition
  • Neurocognition
  • Recovery
  • Rehabilitation
  • Schizophrenia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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