Cognitive slippage

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]

Overview

Cognitive slippage is a symptom of several psychiatric diseases and mental disorders associated with cognition and formal thought disorders. It is manifested in patterns of speech, where categories and lists become overly broad as concepts unrelated at first glance become related through tangential connections.

An example of cognitive slippage might be as follows:

"List some types of cars."
"Let's see, there's Ford, Chevrolet, Toyota, Japan, Rising Sun, Hiroshima, Atomic Bomb, Enola Gay, oh and Miata."

(Schutz, 2006)

The inclusion of extraneous items in the listing is evidence of the cognitive slippage. While the concepts such as Toyota, Japan, Rising Sun, etc. are all related, the relation is no longer defined by the initial prompt. The cognitive slippage, however, causes the inability to disregard these extraneous connections and results in patterns of speech and association as seen here. In contrast, another disorder of speech, word salad is even more disorganized than the loose associations of cognitive slippage.

Cognitive slippage is one of the positive symptoms of schizophrenia, a psychiatric illness which has impacts on every facet of a patient's life.

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