Do I exist? Mirror experience and early Self-Disorders

Poster A26, Thursday, October 20, 11:30 am - 1:00 pm, Le Baron

Michele Poletti1, Andrea Raballo2; 1Reggio Emilia Mental Health Department, 2University of Oslo

Purpose: Varieties of anomalous subjective experiences, aka “basic Self-Disorders” (SD), have been empirically demonstrated as core clinical features of schizophrenia spectrum disorders, predating developmental behavioral expressions as well as full blown psychotic symptoms. However the clinical stage in which SD emerge and their candidate neurocognitive origins remain unsolved clinical questions. Materials and Methods: Clinical and neurocognitive in-depth case study: a 11-year-old boy with emerging psychosis underwent detailed neuropsychological and a psychopathological assessment (CBCL-11-8, SPI-CY, CAARMS, EASE) and was followed up longitudinally. Results: The neuropsychological assessment detected a clinical picture of childhood dyspraxia, visuospatial impairment and learning disabilities. The psychopathological assessment revealed: Attenuated Psychosis Syndrome (CAARMS) and a stable, trait-like subjective feeling of non-existing while looking himself at the mirror (EASE). The onset of such SD dated back to infancy and preceded the development of auditory hallucinations. Conclusions: The combination of neurocognitive and psychopathological features in this case are suggestive with respect to 1) the hypotheses on early impairments in the integration of perceptual information across distinct proprioceptive modalities, as possible early neurocognitive basis of SD, 2) the specific characteristics of mirror experience as provided by phenomenological and developmental psychology perspectives. Although difficult to investigate and detect, SD may represent early risk signs of subsequent development of psychosis, probably present since childhood premorbid phases. Further empirical confirmation of these hypotheses is needed in clinical samples.

Topic Area: Diagnosis and Phenomenology

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