Advertisement

A Modified Self-Knowledge Model of Thought Insertion

  • Sruthi RothenfluchEmail author
Article

Abstract

Thought insertion is a condition characterized by the impression that one's thoughts are not one’s own and have been inserted by others. Some have explained the condition as resulting, in part, from impaired or defective self-knowledge, or knowledge of one’s mental states. I argue that such models do not shed light on the most puzzling feature of thought insertion: the patient’s experience that an introspected thought does not feel like her own. After examining ways in which existing versions of the model might address this worry, I propose a significant modification. I argue that the experience of disownership consists in a rational indifference that one feels towards one’s inserted thought. I further contend that the experience is generated by an underlying absence of an expectation of rational authority towards the inserted thought, such that the patient does not expect her thought to reflect, or be shaped by, her own rational considerations. I defend my proposal using empirical studies from cognitive and social psychology which suggest that we ordinarily have and experience an expectation of rational authority towards a certain subset of our thoughts, and direct analysis of patient reports, which strongly suggest that it is this expectation and the corresponding experience that thought insertion patients lack.

Notes

References

  1. Aronson, Elliot. 1992. The return of the repressed: Dissonance theory makes a comeback. Psychological Inquiry 3 (4): 303–311.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bolger, Allison. 2015. Locating thought insertion on the map of ordinary thinking. Philosophy, Psychiatry & Psychology 22 (3): 235–238.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bortolotti, Lisa, and Matthew Broome. 2009. A role for ownership and authorship in the analysis of thought insertion. Phenomenology and Cognitive Sciences 8: 205–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Boyle, Matthew. 2009. Two kinds of self-knowledge. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 78 (1): 133–164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Campbell, John. 1999. Schizophrenia, the space of reasons and thinking as a motor process. The Monist 82 (4): 609–625.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Carruthers, P. 2011. The opacity of mind: An integrative theory of self-knowledge. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cassam, Quassim. 2014. Self-knowledge for humans. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Chamberlain, S., A. Blackwell, N. Fineberg, T. Robbins, and B. Sahakian. 2005. The neuropsychology of obsessive compulsive disorder: The importance of failures in cognitive and behavioral inhibition as candidate endophenotypic markers. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews 29: 399–419.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Churchland, P. 2002. Brain-wise: Studies in Neurophilosophy. Cambridge: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
  10. Clark, David, and Brendan Guyitt. 2008. Pure obsessions: Conceptual misnomer or clinical anomaly? In Obsessive compulsive disorder: Subtypes and Spectrum conditions, ed. Jonathan Abramowitz, Dean McKay, and Steven Taylor, 53–75. New York: Elsevier.Google Scholar
  11. Cooper, and Fazio. 1984. A new look at dissonance theory. In Advances in experimental social psychology, ed. L. Berkowitz, 229–264. Orlando: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  12. Devine, P., J. Tauer, K. Barron, A. Elliot, K. Vance, and E. Harmon-Jones. 2019. Moving beyond attitude change in the study of dissonance-related processes: An update on the role of discomfort. In Cognitive dissonance: Reexamining a pivotal theory in psychology, ed. E. Harmon-Jones, 247–269. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Elliot, A., and P. Devine. 1994. On the motivational nature of cognitive dissonance: Dissonance as psychological discomfort. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 67 (3): 382–394.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Fernandez, Jordi. 2013. Transparent minds. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Fernandez, Jordi. 2010. Thought insertion and self-knowledge. Mind and Language 25 (1): 66–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Festinger, L. 1957. A theory of cognitive dissonance. Evanston: Row, Peterson and Company.Google Scholar
  17. Fletcher, P., and C. Frith. 2009. Perceiving is believing: A Bayesian approach to explaining the positive symptoms of schizophrenia. Nature Reviews Neuroscience 10: 48–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Fricker, Miranda. 2007. Epistemic injustice: Power and the ethics of knowing. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Frith, Christopher, and Eve Johnstone. 2003. Schizophrenia: A very short introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Frith, C. 1992. The cognitive neuropsychology of schizophrenia. Hillsdale: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  21. Gawronski B. and Brannon, S. 2019. What is cognitive consistency, and why does it matter? Cognitive dissonance: Reexamining a pivotal theory in psychology, ed. E. Harmon Jones, 91-116. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Gilovich, T. 1991. How we know what isn’t so: The fallibility of human reason in everyday life. New York: The Free Press.Google Scholar
  23. Glannon, W. 2005. Neurobiology, neuroimaging, and free will. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 29: 68–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Graham, George, and Lynn Stephens. 1994. Mind and mine. In Philosophical psychopathology, ed. George Graham and Lynn Stephens, 91–109. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  25. Hoerl, Christopher. 2001. On thought insertion. Philosophy, Psychiatry and Psychology 8 (2/3): 189–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kahneman, D. 2011. Thinking, fast and slow. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.Google Scholar
  27. Kelly, T. 2008. Disagreement, dogmatism, and belief polarization. The Journal of Philosophy 105 (10): 611–633.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Lawlor, K. 2009. Knowing what one wants. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 79 (1): 47–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Levy, Daniel. 2003. Neural holism and free will. Philosophical Psychology 16 (2): 205–228.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Liddle, P. 1987. Schizophrenic syndromes, cognitive performance and neurological dysfunction. Psychological Medicine 17: 49–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Lord, C.G., L. Ross, and M. Lepper. 1979. Biased assimilation and attitude polarization: The effects of prior theories on subsequently considered evidence. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 37: 2098–2109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Lynch, M. 2012. In praise of reason. Cambridge: The MIT Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Maier, N. 1931. Reasoning in humans II: The solution of a problem and its appearance in consciousness. Journal of Comparative Psychology 12: 181–194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Mellor, C. 1970. First rank symptoms of schizophrenia. British Journal of Psychiatry 117: 15–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Meynen, G. 2012. Obsessive-compulsive disorder, free will and control. Philosophy. Psychiatry and Psychology 19 (4): 323–332.Google Scholar
  36. Moran, Richard. 2012. Self-knowledge, ‘transparency’ and the forms of activity. In Introspection and consciousness, ed. Declan Smities and Daniel Stoljar, 211–236. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Moran, Richard. 2001. Authority and estrangement. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  38. Nisbett, R., and T. Wilson. 1977. Telling more than we can know: Verbal reports on mental processes. Psychological Review 87 (3): 231–259.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Parrot, Matthew. 2017. Subjective misidentification and thought insertion. Mind & Language 32 (1): 39–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Pickard, Hanna. 2010. Schizophrenia and the epistemology of self-knowledge. European Journal of Analytic Philosophy : Special Issue in Classification and Explanation in Psychiatry 6: 55–74.Google Scholar
  41. Saks, Elyn. 2007. The Center cannot hold: My journey through madness. Boston: Hachette Books.Google Scholar
  42. Scanlon, T.M. 1998. What we owe to each other. Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  43. Simon, L., and J. Greenberg. 1995. Trivialization: The forgotten mode of dissonance reduction. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 68 (2): 247–260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Sims, A. 2003. Symptoms in the mind: An introduction to descriptive psychopathology. Edinburgh: Elsevier Science Limited.Google Scholar
  45. Sollberger, Michael. 2014. Making sense of an endorsement model of thought insertion. Mind and Language 29 (5): 590–612.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Sousa, Paulo, and Lauren Swiney. 2013. Thought insertion: Abnormal sense of thought agency or thought endorsement? Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 12 (4): 637–654.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Westen, D., P. Blagov, K. Harenski, C. Kilts, and S. Hamann. 2006. Neural bases of motivated reasoning: An fMRI study of emotional constraints on partisan political judgment in the 2004 US presidential election. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 18 (11): 1947–1958.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of PortlandPortlandUSA

Personalised recommendations