The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of emotion on the rate of forgetting by long-hospitalized schizophrenics. Neutral, positive and negative emotion word lists were read by long-hospitalized schizophrenic and normal control subjects. Subjects were tested for recall immediately and after a delay of about 48 h. The results showed that long-hospitalized schizophrenics: (1) remembered less information; (2) forgot rapidly over time and (3) the negative emotion list was forgotten less rapidly by schizophrenics than the positive emotion list. These findings cannot be explained by differences in discriminating power of tasks, primacy and recency effects in recall, drug status, age, sex or intelligence. The conclusions drawn were that long-hospitalized schizophrenics are characterized by the rapid forgetting of verbal materials, and negative emotion materials are forgotten less rapidly by schizophrenics than other materials. Organic and psychological factors may interact in producing these effects in long-stay but not in short-stay patients.

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