Friday, October 21, 2016

Emotional Salience

There is a new antipsychotic out, Vraylar (cariprazine). I haven't seen anyone who's on it yet, but it targets an interesting symptom. (Okay, it targets receptors, but you know what I mean.) Emotional salience is the sense that something is important. I liken it to the background music in movies, where a dump-ta-DUM signals to the audience that something important just happened. Many psychotic people have delusions without hearing voices, because they find emotional salience in odd places. Random, benign events are highlighted by their brains as Important. They just feel it strongly, sometimes overwhelmingly, that the white car driving past their house has something to do with them. These reinforce each other, and a whole delusional system gets built up.


Earl Wajenberg said...

And if you stop feeling that anything is important? Cut the dose? (If you think that's important...)

Texan99 said...

I have read that there is a spectrum of ability to make surprising connections between events or concepts, and that schizophrenia is this ability taken to an extreme. I suppose the opposite extreme is a plodding literalness of mind--a trait of someone unlikely ever to experience flashes of inspiration or useful hunches.

jaed said...

I've found it helpful for a while to think of psychosis as a malfunction of the pattern-matching functions of the brain.

I also had a random thought while reading AVI's final sentence: is it possible to attack the problem at the point where the delusional system gets built up, rather than earlier when the connection is made and the conviction of significance arises? Some kind of CBD-esque approach?