Factor II of the Negative Symptoms

As you know, there are two factors of the negative symptoms: the first factor has been labeled “experience,” and it has to do with the conscious experience of not wanting to do anything, avoidance, anhedonia, asociality, etc. In a sense, the individual makes a conscious decision not to become more active, generally based on defeatist or asocial beliefs, such as “I don’t have the energy to do anything,” or “if I try something, I will only fail.”

In contrast, the expressive features appear to have more to do with the effective system than the conscious subjective system. Specifically, blunted affect, diminished expressiveness, and aphonia are not based on a desire to blank one’s face, reduce gestures, or reduce speech. They seem to be involuntary and, in a way, are more akin to the “freezing” observed in people with test anxiety or public speaking anxiety. When the individual enters a similar situation: inhibition of facial expressions, speech, and communicative gestures. The problem is: what are the beliefs that trigger this type of reaction? One idea is that the reaction is due to activation of the defeatist attitudes, which do have a significant, though not substantial correlation to the expressive factor. Another thought is that has to do with the sense of isolation or aloneness. The mechanism does appear to be disengagement, but what beliefs trigger this?

As you know, these expressive symptoms can change; the individual becomes animated and shows expressiveness, etc., when actively participating in a group activity. So, we can say that socialization is an antidote to factor 2, but what beliefs represent the activators of these symptoms?

For your interest, I am attaching a figure on the dysfunctional beliefs leading to negative symptoms. Let me know where you would place the expressiveness axis in this diagram.

It is okay to guess, even if you’re wrong, it can be helpful.

-ATB