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Jen Luzhansky

January 20, 2017

Pd. 5/6
Annotated source list

“Art As Empowerment.” Performance by Ann E Lawton, TEDX, 2016. Youtube.com, www.youtube.com

Art is a form of self expression that can be used as a way to convey the non-verbal self. This video
explains how art can be a safe place, how it can be used as a confessional that allows someone to express the
thoughts and feelings that can’t be conveyed through words. Many times in cases of mental illness, the person is
too afraid, too ashamed, or unable to explain what the problem is. Simply drawing out a couple lines that
represent what is felt can go a long way toward helping the person release the bottled up thoughts or emotions.
Art therapy allows for contemplation about the problem, and serve as a way to think through the difficult ideas.
It can be used as a healing power, and help people find a sense of purpose or hope. Art itself gives the person an
opportunity to speak their minds, and for psychologists to uncover hidden symptoms/problems/explanations.
Regardless of the fact that art is subjective, there are tools that can be used to uncover certain meanings.
Although, as Ann E. Lawton says in 2016, “the client’s image is the client’s image. Only they can make sense
of the imagery. It’s giving them back control of their lives”. So art therapy is not used as a diagnosis tool,
rather, a supportive and empowering environment where the person can tell their story through art. It helps the
psychologist track the person’s state of mind, based on how and what they create.
Application to Research
After watching this Ted Talk, I am certain that I’m going to use this source as the background to my
research. It gives a great idea of how art therapy helps the person cope and express their true colors. It brings a
new definition and appreciation toward the arts and creativity- which is something that can be a very helpful
communication device for people who think in a different way than most of us do. Knowing that schizophrenics
have language impairments, I can see how combining therapy with art (non-language based) could be a very
useful treatment tool. Depending on the severity, the person would be able to express what is wrong, and help
themselves receive the proper treatment.
Although I enjoyed this video, I feel like it doesn’t go too in-depth into the details of how art therapy
can treat mental illnesses. The overview was very good. In the future, I will just need to look for sources that
really go in-depth about art therapy.

Art Therapy Techniques. (2017). All Psychology Careers. Retrieved from http://www.allpsychologycareers.com
/topics/art-therapy -techniques.html.
Aesthetic techniques can take over when one cannot verbalize their thoughts. This article emphasizes
that knowing the right techniques to use to treat and gain information about the patient is essential toward the
quality of treatment. The use of science, intuition, and knowledge of art all together helps the therapist choose
the right tools. Certain situations and personalities call for different types of media used. For example, someone
who has undergone trauma would likely best benefit from using oil pastels. This is because trauma patients take
a longer time to express their troubles, and oil pastels take a longer time to fill the canvas. It gives them time to
discuss. Also, oil pastels provide a sensory experience (better than a paintbrush or marker)- touching the colored
texture itself can calm the patient as they express tough ideas.
A collage would be the best approach for patients who are intimidated by creating art, or have
experienced negative feedback about it in their childhood. A collage is easy, and does not require someone to
directly form an image, but rather identify with premade images and arrange and construct a product that is
meaningful to them. Collages are usually prompts for stories that the therapist asks the patient to tell, such as
“how would you look like if you were in recovery”.
Phototherapy is the use of photography as a way to piece together a person’s life. They may scrapbook
or create photo albums to show the inside of their lives. The photographs may also serve as bridges into
discussing old memories and or forgotten experiences. Digital art is preferred by autistic children. Many may
claim that holding a pencil or brush is painful, or enjoy the visuospatial learning given with computers.
Many other techniques are floating around, or are in the process of being researched.
Application to Research
I will be able to use this article to refer to different techniques used in art therapy. When I aim to create my data
collection plan, I will have to choose specific techniques and media to work best with all kinds of people. I
would like to research more about different kinds of techniques. Specifically, I want to learn about how a
therapist guides the session, and how they bring about hidden thoughts and feelings.

Beaty, R. E., Benedek, M., Kaufman, S. B., & Silvia, P. J. (2015). Default and executive network coupling
supports creative idea production. Scientific Reports, 5. doi:10.1038/srep10964
This journal raises the question of whether the creative process involves more or less cognitive control
and attention. They used fMRI full brain imaging to decipher large-scale networks and brain region interactions
that are significant in divergent thinking. The journal explains: “the default mode network (DMN) [is] a set of
midline and inferior parietal regions that activate in the absence of most external task demands… The DMN is
associated with cognitive processes that require internally-directed or self-generated thought, such as mind-
wandering, future thinking, perspective taking, and mental simulation. The apparent overlap between these
processes and those hypothesized to support imagination has fueled speculation that the DMN may be important
for creativity” (Beaty et al., 2015). The precuneus and inferior parietal lobule are core hubs of the DMN.
Specifically, the left inferior parietal lobe was found to be significantly activated when generating new ideas in
a divergent thinking task. Another large scale network is investigated toward understand creativity: the
executive control network, specifically focusing on the lateral prefrontal cortex. This network controls cognitive
tasks that require attention toward the external environment- including working memory, relational integration,
response inhibition, and task-set switching (Beaty et al., 2015).
Although the two networks come together to create successful creativity, they work in opposition-
suppressing one another. This possibly reflects the different forms of attention, external and internal, being ‘in
check’ with one another. “Emerging evidence, however, suggests that the executive and default networks
actually cooperate whenever it is necessary to perform a task that requires extended evaluation of internal
information. Under these contexts—including autobiographical future planning, positive constructive
daydreaming, keeping track of social information, and evaluating creative ideas—the dorsal attention network
and executive networks become decoupled and the executive network couples with the default mode network”
(Beaty et al., 2015). That being said, in this study there seemed to be cooperation between the two networks
during resting state, the temporal lobes as well as several hubs in the executive control network light up during
divergent thinking. “Together, results from the whole-brain analysis indicates a greater cooperation between
brain regions involved in spontaneous thought, cognitive control, and semantic memory retrieval. These
findings are consistent with the emerging literature on the cooperative role of default and executive networks
during cognitive states that involve focused internal attention” (Beaty et al., 2015). The article also explains
how different types of creative thinking have shown up on the fMRI, and what the results may mean in terms of
the cooperating/opposing neural networks.
Application to Research
This article is very long and very, very detailed in explanation and analysis. They have amazing figures and
graphics that I would like to return to. Since this was so detailed with many relevant quotes, I may frequently
cite this source in my paper. I couldn’t fit all of the summarized information into the summary part of this
reading report, but I believe I got the gist of it. Also, I will ask Dr. Jafri and Dr. Tang on what they think about
this article.

Bolwerk, A., Mack-Andrick, J., Lang F. R., Dörfler, A., & Maihöfner, C. (2014). How art changes your brain:
Differential effects of visual art production and cognitive art evaluation on functional brain connectivity.
PLoS ONE 9(7): e101035. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0101035
This journal article investigates how practicing art can change the functional connectivity in the brain.
The researchers took three groups, one that actively created art, one that evaluated art at a museum, and one
group that served as a control and did no art. This study lasted for over 10 weeks and consisted of elderly
subjects. “It has shown that visual art interventions have stabilizing effects on the individual by reducing
distress, increasing self-reflection and self-awareness, altering behaviour and thinking patterns, and also by
normalizing heart rate, blood pressure, or even cortisol levels” (Bolwerk et al., 2014). They wanted to see if the
functional neuroanatomy is subject to change as well. They believe that the default mode network (DMN),
which is believed to be associated with self-monitoring, introspection, prospection, etc., is somehow connected
to the practice of art.
So, through fMRI imaging and after 10 weeks of guided art intervention, the researchers found that direct
training in the arts significantly increased the functional connectivity of the DMN, specifically between the
frontal and parietal cortices. They did not find this to be the case for the art evaluation group. They believe that
motor and cognitive processing together in the art production group was a great factor that separated their
results from the art evaluation group, as the art evaluation group had results of very little significance.
It was found that the frontal lobes in the art production groups had been greatly activated, which helped
decrease negative experiences and with psychological resilience (stress resistance). They also had increased
‘flow’ in their sensorimotor cortex.
Application to Research
This article gives hard evidence that proves that art therapy could help as rehabilitation for
psychological and neurological disorders. I will be looking back at this article for evidence and ideas
relating to my project and its relevance/dependability. I hope to somehow follow a similar approach as
taken by these scientists, so I could record quantitative data of a qualitative concept. I still do not know
how I am going to do this, or if it is even possible to retrieve quantitative data from an art therapy
experiment. Although, if it is possible, this article points me in the right direction.

Bourassa, T. (2016). Why Art Therapy?. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 4, 2018, from
https://psychcentral. com/lib/why-art-therapy/
This article emphasizes how regular therapy requires a certain comfort in expressing yourself and your
symptoms. You have to be relatively aware of what is going on with yourself to explain your troubles in a way
where the therapist can understand. Sometimes patients may be unknowing of their symptoms, or be
uncomfortable with communicating verbally. In these cases, “Art therapy is an excellent starting point”
(Bourassa, 2016). Specifically, the author talks about art usage in cognitive behavioral therapy. She goes on to
talk about how art therapy is therapeutic, how it changes the brain and in turn- behavior.
The basis of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) surrounds the idea that behaviors, thoughts, and
emotions are interrelated. “Art therapy is not merely expressing your emotions and leaving the session feeling
better — it also involves challenging the negative emotions and thoughts that we have. Art therapy can very
easily be combined with cognitive behavioral therapy methods, to make for the best results. Similarly, by
expressing our emotions in atypical ways (through the creative process) instead of through verbal
communication, we may actually come to understand them more completely.” (Bourassa, 2016). That being
said, if the emotional aspect of the issue is worked on through art, the rest of the CBT model (thoughts and
behaviors) are also enhanced, and vice versa- kind of giving a ‘triple effect’ towards treatment. Also, the fact
that CBT works primarily on increasing helpful behaviors, combining art into the therapy knocks out two of the
three portions of the model.
There are three levels of brain areas that are activated during art creation: kinetic/sensory,
perceptual/affective, and cognitive/symbolic (Lusebrink, 2004). The kinetic/sensory region refers to the
sensation and stimulation that is attached to the movement/physical process of creating art- it can lead to
emotional responses. The perceptual/affective level involves the visual association cortex. The perceptions and
visual expression from various objects and art forms relate to the channeling and expression of emotions. The
emotions can influence artistic expression- leading to a change in the way the person creates lines, uses colors,
etc. The cognitive/symbolic level refers to logical, abstract, and analytical thought associated with the creation
of artwork. Involving the frontal and parietal cortices, the brain formulates those thoughts into symbols
physically expressed through art. Through symbolic representation, a person can place value and emotion into a
certain symbol.
Application to Research
Due to not enough space to include the conclusion and details, I was unable to summarize those parts of the
article (although they are implied in the summary). So, eventually I will have to go back and reread this article
because it is just so detailed and gives very valuable information (with sources that I could explore). I really
liked how they combined CBT specifically with art therapy- it seems like an approach I could use for my data
collection. CBT is much less abstract than other therapies and has studies that prove its legitimacy, so this part
of my research could give my study more of a scientific backbone.

Brown, Steven, and Xiaoqing Gao. “The Neuroscience of Beauty.” Scientific American, 27 Sept. 2011,
“The notion of “the aesthetic” is a concept from the philosophy of art... according to which the
perception of beauty occurs by means of a special process distinct from the appraisal of ordinary objects.”
(Brown & Gao, 2011), therefore, our perception of a piece of artwork is completely different than that of a
table. Although, the neural networks that mediate this level of appreciation are generalized, it comes with an
evolutionary background, that allowed us to determine the visual pleasingness of food, attractiveness of mates,
etc. So, this specific neural network works toward appreciation of both, ordinary objects and pieces of artwork.
The article gave an overview of a study that was conducted to determine which brain regions were most
active in this neural network. They set up 93 different studies that used taste, smell, vision, and/or hearing to
activate this aesthetic-appreciatory network. Although, the study produced unexpected results. The researchers
found that the anterior insula (a part of the brain that is associated with negative emotions, such as disgust or
pain.) was activated, and significantly important in the aesthetic appreciation. In fact, it was the most important
part of this artistic processing.
Once again, evolution can explain these odd results. The researchers believe that appreciation for
something, is broken down to “good for me” vs “bad for me”. As Steven & Gao wrote in 2011, “The nature of
this appraisal depends very strongly on what my current physiological state is. The sight of chocolate cake will
lead to positive aesthetic emotions if I’m famished but to feelings of disgust if I’m sick to my stomach.” So, the
anterior insula may simply be a ‘good/bad’ switch for appreciatory emotions, thus explaining why aesthetically
pleasing artwork activates this part of the brain.
Application to Research
An evolutionary standpoint on humans’ interpretation of artwork can help me write my background for
the paper. Knowing that the part of the brain that also controls disgust, for instance, is very important in
processing beautiful artwork can help me alleviate a lot of confusion in the future. I plan to somehow
incorporate EEG brain scans into my project. I have access to them, and I wonder if I could focus on this area
specifically for my investigation of art therapy and exposing hidden symptoms. Although, it would be hard to
figure out whether the person is feeling disgust or appreciation- so there is a lot of thinking to do about how to
collect data or even what to focus on for my project.

Dominquez, Trace, director. How Creativity and Mental Illness Are Linked. Performance by Julia Wilde,
Youtube.com, Seeker, 9 Sept. 2015, www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWzhVauFbSU.
This video touches on the links between mental illness and creativity. The woman that’s presenting
gives real-life examples in connection to her claims to help the viewers see the everyday prevalence of our uses
of the neural networks that she is referencing to. There is a strong stream of evidence that suggests that the two
are connected, as the neural networks and processes are quite similar. There is a phenomenon where the
precuneus, a part of the brain that should be inhibited when people engage in higher-order thinking, remains
active when ‘creative’ people are thinking abstractly. Although, the similar activity occurs in people who have
schizotypal disorders. This part of the brain does not shut off, and this allows for excess stimuli from the
environment to be processed while the creative or schizotypal person is thinking- causing a clutter in thought
processes, or simply creating original thoughts based on the severity of the cluster. Free association is also
found to be present in both, creative and schizotypal people. There is an almost unguided association between
stimuli, and this is what causes hallucinations or original thoughts.
“It is almost like creativity and madness are on a kind of spectrum” (Wilde, 2015). She elaborates on
this claim by mentioning that when these unguided associations go too far, the person crosses over from
creative to delusional or hallucinatory. It is all a matter of how the person encodes the information, or when the
associations may have very bizarre links. Although, there isn’t necessarily a cause and effect relationship
between one or the other. It is possible, just not proven.
Application to Research
After watching this video, I found a lot of interesting information that actually makes a lot of sense. For a while
I didn’t understand why so many geniuses were suffering from some sort of disorder where in theory, the
disorder is supposed to be debilitating, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Now, this explains a lot. I believe that
if I take the research route toward art therapy and psychosis, this video could be of great use to me. I should
really explore the precuneus, as it may also help explain my investigation of dreams vs. hallucinations as well.

Farokhi, M. (2011). Art therapy in humanistic psychology. Elsevier, 30, 2089-2092. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.
“Artworks can be defined by purposeful, creative interpretations of limitless concepts or ideas in order
to communicate something to another person.” (Farokhi, 2011) is a quote from the referenced journal, where
the authors discuss the meaning and fundamental purposes of art and its therapeutic purposes. The authors
define two different types of art therapy. One is referred to as ‘art as therapy’, where the creation of art is seen
as an opportunity to express, imagine, and repair oneself. The process itself is therapeutic. The second type is
referred to as ‘art psychotherapy’, where the artwork created is used a means of communication. “The art image
becomes significant in enhancing verbal exchange between the person and the therapist and in achieving
insight; resolving conflicts; solving problems; and formulating new perceptions that in turn lead to positive
changes, growth, and healing. In reality, art as therapy and art psychotherapy are used together in varying
degrees.” (Farokhi, 2011).
Usually, programs or therapists combine the two types of therapies for the best treatment. Therapists
may pull references or explanation from the ARAS (Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism) The
purpose is to help the patient understand themselves and grow from the revealing product and the creative
process. Underlying thoughts and symptoms are brought to light through the art medium, and the image is often
related to the person’s thoughts/feelings or to their perception of the environment around them. Both types help
the artist/patient explore difficult thoughts. That being said, art therapy is a great escape from debilitating
illnesses such as psychiatric disorders, cancer, learning disabilities, heart disease, etc.
A typical art therapy session would involve a great focus on the person’s internal state. That being said, the art
generally is formed not from observation, but from inside. The therapist usually guides the session while
helping the patient find meaning in their work. The patient would actively participate and incorporate their
imagination and personal meaning into the product.
Application to Research
I will definitely refer to this journal article for definitions and wording of ideas. The author gives many great
examples and interpretations that help me piece together the true goals and meaning of art therapy. It also helps
me see art therapy at another depth- how the process is used to uncover hidden symptoms.
I believe when the time comes to start working on certain assignments relating to the paper, I will have to look
back on this. Also, I want to reform my research question and hypothesis, I will be looking back on this journal
for inspiration and explanation.

Gendlin, E. T. (1972). Therapeutic procedures with schizophrenic patients. The Theory and Practice of
Psychotherapy with Specific Disorders, 333-375. Retrieved from http://www.focusing.org/gendlin
This article gives a very detailed explanation and procedures regarding the treatment and understanding
of a person with schizophrenia. The introduction gives an overview and the author’s personal belief of the
nature of schizophrenia. The author makes a clear statement by saying that schizophrenia is not “in” the person.
The whole experiential being lives with schizophrenia, as the illness is an interpersonal anomaly and is brewed
from years of ‘inner-isolation’. Then, the content turns to talking about psychotherapeutic (non-art-based)
considerations. Since schizophrenics often have a flat affect, the section mentions how psychotherapists should
break through in a way that evokes a concrete feeling within the patient, before they will be able to change and
“be alive in new ways” (Gendlin, 1972).
Gendlin notes down different ways a patient may react or behave in psychotherapy. According to him, a
patient’s behavior could be categorized in these ways: silence, rejecting the therapist, no self-propelled process,
and a missing set of exploration (will to find out what’s wrong). He then explains his experience with
complications or challenges faced by a psychotherapist. When a patient is incoherent, a ‘supportive’ approach
where the therapist just listens and allows them to ramble on could actually be harmful to the patient. “Instead,
he must respond in such a way that the patient can bear it, can concretely feel and know what is meant, can
attend better to his own immediately available feelings and can experience himself as perceived by and
understandable to another person... There must be explorative response, but of a different kind. The therapist
must try to sense the patient's presently available felt referents and must show the patient that this is what the
therapist values and responds to.” (Gendlin, 1972). The next section of the article gives more information
around how a psychotherapist should continue when a schizophrenic patient is behaving in a certain way. There
is a whole procedure that is subjective and depends on the situation for each sort of situation. The procedure is
dependant on ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ and is used only as a basic outline for how to approach a situation. Although, it is
still detailed in the sense that reacting in a specific way to a patient is wildly important.
Application to Research
I am using an article from 1972 because psychotherapy since then has not changed much at all. We are still
using very similar techniques as we did back then, so this article has relevance to today. Also, allowing myself
to understand how normal psychotherapy works will help me gain a better understanding of art psychotherapy.
This article is very long, and actually difficult to read, so I will have to come back and reread it once more so I
understand what is discussed.

Jardri, Renaud, et al. “Are Hallucinations Due to an Imbalance Between Excitatory and Inhibitory
Influences on the Brain? | Schizophrenia Bulletin | Oxford Academic.” OUP Academic, Oxford
University Press, 3 June 2016, academic.oup.com/schizophreniabulletin/article/42/5/1124
This scholarly meta-analysis journal elaborates on the claim that subtle impairments in the excitatory vs
inhibitory (E vs. I) neurotransmitters may have devastating effects on the nervous system, and be prominent
cause in mental illnesses such as schizophrenia. Also, the research from the article states that in depth
investigation of such E vs. I imbalances could provide some very important information to help with
understanding the mechanisms of hallucinations.
The researchers in this study have investigated different models and simulations to understand the causes for
psychotic symptoms at different levels such as molecular, systematic, and cognitive. For example,
“Psychotomimetic models (eg, models that mimic the symptoms of psychosis), especially those based on
ketamine (an antagonistic agent of NMDA-R), also support the E/I imbalance hypothesis. SCZ-like symptoms
(eg, perceptual aberrations, delusional ideas, thought disorder, and changes in affect) have been described in
healthy volunteers taking ketamine as well as in autoimmune anti-NMDA-R encephalitis... Furthermore,
ketamine does not routinely induce hallucinations, rather illusory percepts—alterations of stimuli that are
actually present. However, a recent report suggests that ketamine administration inside the MRI scanner
(perhaps a form of sensory isolation) does induce auditory verbal and musical hallucinations” (Jardri, Renaud,
et al., 2016), meaning that the alterations in E vs. I simply alter reality rather than create a new one.
Then, different types of evidence was provided to show the effects of deficits in the inhibitory transmitters, and
then related these findings to known literature. They used the data to reinforce the E vs. I
hypothesis and proposed a call to action for greater research on transdiagnostic investigation that relates to this
Application to Research
This article has a very in-depth explanation of the evidences collected that support the E vs. I
hypothesis. I had to cut out a lot of direct information to include all the major components that this article
covers. So, eventually I would have to come back to this and take note of the specific details in the journal. It is
quite difficult to understand what the authors are saying at times due to my lack of knowledge of neurology, but
I am able to tell that the collected information validates many important concepts that bring together a possible
major cause of psychotic symptoms. I will have to look into these inhibitory disabilities in greater depth, as I
believe this is a huge explanation for why these disorders come to be.

Jayaraman, Pavitra. “Art Therapy For Treatment Of Schizophrenia. ”WhiteSwanFoundation, White

Swan Foundation, 11 Oct. 2017, www.whiteswanfoundation.org/article/role-of-art-therapy -in-
This article gives an overview of what art therapy is, and how it is able to help people with mental illnesses,
especially schizophrenia. The point of art therapy is more to help the patient express themselves without having
to use words (as language deficits are often an issue in mental illnesses), than it is to create good art. The
therapy can help provide a healthy outlet and distraction from the debilitating symptoms, and provide a sense of
accomplishment or purpose which is otherwise overpowered by anhedonia. “Schizophrenia is a chronic, severe
mental illness which affects day to day functioning. Art therapy is useful in addressing negative symptoms such
as lack of motivation, social withdrawal, poor communication and non-verbal skills. It can be a complementary
therapy, which along with medication, will help in the treatment of the person and teach them to cope with the
illness” (Jayaraman, 2017). Therefore, art therapy has potential to augment in a range of treatment strategies.
The passage also gives details on what happens during art therapy, such as explanation of thoughts and
strengthening of communication abilities.This could be done so through different medium. Under the guidance
of a therapist, activities may include drawing/painting, sculpting, building, dancing, playing instruments, etc.
Also, there is implication that the psychologist/psychiatrist could potentially use intuition to address certain
issues that the patient may not explicitly state - especially if they are unable to properly articulate or use
language- thus improving the course of treatment.
Application to Research
As I am trying to narrow down on what I want to study this year, this article helps push me in the right
direction. I am interested in both, neuroscience and art, so after reading this I am inclined to pursue a project
that combines the two. The article introduced myself to the idea of art therapy, by providing a basic overview.
This is definitely something I could explore. I wonder if art therapy could be used to uncover someone’s
subconscious or give evidence that a part/neural connectivity of the brain is not working properly. This seems
like an idea that is very unexplored, yet could really shine a light on different treatment options and more
precise diagnoses.

Kaufman, S. B. (2013). The Real Neuroscience of Creativity. Scientific American. Retrieved from https://blogs.
scientificamerican.com/beautiful-minds/the-real- neuroscience-of-creativity/
This article breaks down the misconceptions of creativity, of how only the right brain is involved in the
creative process. They make it very clear that creativity does not arise from a single area or structure. Multiple
brain networks are actually at work, differing by the type of task, and come together to help problem solve and
find new approaches. The creative process, from preparation to incubation to illumination to verification,
consists of conscious and nonconscious functions. For this process, there are three major neural networks that
come into play for creative thinking: executive attention network, imagination network, and salience network.
The executive attention network serves as the primary attention focuser. The lateral prefrontal cortex
and the posterior parietal lobes are greatly used and communicative for this network- allowing a person to direct
their utmost attention to something they deem important. “According to Randy Buckner and colleagues, the
[Imagination Network] is involved in "constructing dynamic mental simulations based on personal past
experiences such as used during remembering, thinking about the future, and generally when imagining
alternative perspectives and scenarios to the present."” (Kaufman, 2013). The imagination network has great
communication between the medial prefrontal cortex, temporal lobes, and inner & outer parietal lobes. The
salient network monitors the internal stream of consciousness and also external events. Depending on which is
most salient, the brain chooses either the stream of consciousness or the external events to focus on. The dorsal
anterior cingulate cortices and the anterior insular are important for this switching of this network.
There has been a ‘first approximation’ of the creative process mapped onto the human brain. The
researchers believe that slight inhibition of the executive attention network helps loosen associations and thus
increasing the other two networks- leading to creative thinking. Sometimes, it is in the person’s favor to have all
three networks working together, but at times, the networks can get in the way of each other. It all depends on
the task at hand.
Application to Research
Knowing that I want to study art therapy, understanding the neuroscience behind creativity can help me
understand why art is able to heal the brain. This article reminds me that I should further investigate into neural
networks and look deeper into the ones that are related to art and self-expression. I believe that this article is
pretty biased, yet raises some good points. I will have to check the content with more trustworthy sources. I had
no idea that creativity was able to be broken down into neural networks. I wonder if this is just a theoretical
idea, of if the networks are truly discovered and can compose ‘creativity’. I want to look into how chemistry
plans a role in the creativity-related neurotransmission, although it might be hard to find a source.

Konopka, L. M. (2014). Where art meets neuroscience: a new horizon of art therapy. Retrieved November 16,
2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3944420/
This article gives an overview and touches on the uprising field of art therapy with neuroscience. The authors
understand that the field is very undeveloped and hard to study, yet point toward the fact that neuroscience and
different brain scanning techniques could help link structures of the brain to artistic and cognitive processes. An
unbiased argument is given in favor of the use of art therapy as a helpful insight into a patient’s state of mind
and healing. They claim that art therapy, although art-oriented, can become a real brain-science with the help of
neuroscience augmentation. The author claims that, “Ultimately, our goal is for humans to become better
adapted to their defined environments. It is quite evident that scientists, clinicians, and artists must come
together to share and discuss their experiences.” (Konopka, 2014). Similar to clinical therapy, art therapy is an
intervention that can drastically improve a person’s condition. By being able to alter thought processes,
behaviors, moods, etc., art therapy should be looked into more in-depth, particularly from a scientific viewpoint.
Seeing the idea from multiple viewpoints helps therapists and doctors to optimize treatment for mental
A brain injured by neurological/psychological illnesses or disorders has the plasticity to heal. Thus, the brain
can change. And with art therapy, there is evidence that it can help change the brain to improve functional
Application to Research
I am sure that I will be using this article to develop and further my claims about why art therapy is
useful. It helps lead my research in a definite direction, with proof and explanations for why combining
neuroscience and art is a great idea. This article can help back me up. It also gives me ideas about how to
combine the two fields. The author throws in a couple ways to combine the two, and these ideas are definitely
worth consideration.

McCabe, R., John, P., Dooley, J., Healey, P., Cushing, A., Kingdon, D., . . . Priebe, S. (2016) Training to
enhance psychiatrist communication with patients with psychosis (TEMPO): Cluster randomised
controlled trial. National Elf Service, 211(6). doi:10.1192/bjp.bp.115.179499
This journal article hits on the point that understanding symptoms and what it’s like to live with
psychosis is very hard. Therefore, communication with psychotic patients and the improvement of
communication is often not well taught or understood. A therapeutic relationship is key in improving such
communication. This study aims to see if such skills from psychiatrists could be improved by focusing on
developing a ‘shared understanding’.
The experiment was a cluster randomized control study, where one group of psychiatrists received four
three-hour sessions (and one feedback session) of a manualised training course. The other psychiatrist group
continued with their therapy as usual. Video data of patient consultations were taken of psychiatrists attempting
to create a shared understanding and therapeutic relationship. The results were as followed: “Psychiatrists in the
intervention group used 44% more self-repair (95% CI 1.46 to 11.33, P<0.011). The therapeutic relationship
was perceived more positively by psychiatrists (95% CI 0.03 to 0.37, P<0.022) and patients (95% CI 0.01 to
0.41, P<0.043) in the intervention arm. Psychiatrist self-confidence in communicating with those who were
psychotic increased after the training (t=5.19, 95% CI 1 to 2.04, P<0.01)” (McCabe et al., 2016). That being
said, this study supports the idea that shared understanding and communication in therapy can be improved on
the psychiatrist’s side, by targeting the issue in training.
This is the first trial of its kind in the field of psychology- so not much supporting data exists. Although,
it is beyond a reasonable doubt that the intervention methods did help psychiatrists (and patients) improve
communication in therapy.
Application to Research
Knowing that there actually is a way to improve communication in people with psychosis is a first step.
Although, I don’t know how I can implement this knowledge into my own research in I do get in touch with
schizophrenic subjects. Mostly because this intervention took a long time to actually improve communication,
and I only have limited time to conduct a study/experiment. Also, I’m not certain that this method can be
translated toward art therapy, so this article is insightful toward my knowledge of therapies, but not directly
useful toward my own research.

McCabe, R., & Priebe, S. (2008). Communication and psychosis: It's good to talk, but how? British Journal of
Psychiatry, 192(6), 404-405. doi:10.1192/bjp.bp.107.048678
This article was written for psychiatrists and psychologists who run into problems in therapy, and it addresses
the issue on how communication is very subjective and there is no concrete way to transcribe or analyze it. It is
very difficult to study, as in interrogation or therapy, the communication is patient oriented and different
between each person. There is also no model of good communication.
Next, the article gives tips for situations that may arise in therapy. While there are many ways a clinician
may respond to a psychotic patient, only a certain type of approach may work for one patient and not the other.
An example is given: the patient says “why doesn’t anyone believe me when I say I’m God?”, and clinicians
could respond by avoiding the confrontation in which an agreement is unlikely to be reached, grounding to
reality by saying “because it’s not true”, a client centered approach by saying “you must feel misunderstood”, or
level to their perspective by saying “Why should people believe you? They didn’t believe Jesus either”. Of
course, problems may arise from any of these answers, but choosing the right kind of response is crucial is
encouraging the patient to open up. Often the patient may be non-understandable and the goal of the clinician is
then to try to understand their experiences, and to reach an insightful interaction. That is where a response that
surrounds a patient-keyworker communication could come in handy, as well as applying other techniques to the
therapy. “It remains unclear, however, whether the structuring, focusing on the patient's view, the forward-
looking emphasis on treatment changes or a combination of these factors was crucial to the intervention's
success.” (McCabe, 2008).
It’s true that interventions to improve communication in psychosis is rare, although it was found that a
simple checklist completed by the patients before they receive treatment had a positive effect on
communication, and the treatment was able to be better structured to suit their needs. Communication in therapy
is something that cannot be simply planned out or structured, there are emotional, non-verbal, and existential
components to it. The challenge is still to find ways to reveal as much as possible about the patient so that they
improve and benefit in communication.
Application to Research
This article reinforces my idea that I should have my subjects fill out a survey, since it tended to open up verbal
communication- I believe communication through art would also be improved from the survey checklist. This
article was pretty hard to read, I had a hard time understanding what was being said. Honestly I don’t think that
this is too great of a source, but it does help me strike up questions about communication and psychosis. I
cannot pursue these questions directly in my research, but I can implement them into the simulated art therapy
data collection and observe how the communication of my subject changes.

Moran, L. V., & Hong, L. E. (2011). High vs low frequency neural oscillations in schizophrenia. Schizophrenia
Bulletin, 37(4), 659–663. doi:10.1093/schbul/sbr056
This journal article gives an overview and summarizes collected studies about frequency bands relating
to brain waves and their relationship to schizophrenia. Understanding that about 1-4Hz is Delta, 4-8Hz is Theta,
8-12Hz is Alpha, 12-30Hz is Beta, and about 30-100Hz is Gamma, (often split into ‘roughly gamma’ 30-80Hz
and high gamma >80Hz), studies have found that the gamma waves often are critical in cognition and that
“Theta oscillations are linked to spatial exploration, rapid eye movement sleep, and memory… in humans, theta
oscillations have also been linked to memory retrieval. Prestimulus theta oscillations in the medial temporal
lobe before presentation of a word was associated with successful remembering” (Moran & Hong, 2011). Due
to the proportionally high energy oscillations in low frequency bands such as delta and theta in relation to
gamma as seen in EEG/MEG recordings, the low frequency oscillations could have a significant influence on
the progression of gamma waves. These two frequency bands together in a theta-gamma coupling have been
found to be very important core of successful memory encoding. “These experiments illustrate that individual
high and low frequency oscillations are associated with both overlapped and distinct sensory and cognitive
functions… Cross-frequency coupling refers to interactions between oscillations of different frequency bands.
The most well studied example is the observation of gamma frequency engagement in certain phases of theta
cycles (theta-gamma coupling)” (Moran & Hong, 2011). Although widely studied, this coupling behavior has
not been studied in relation to schizophrenia, and the paper emphasises how understanding the various
possibilities of abnormal synchronization or wave-forms could become a significant biomarker for
schizophrenia. As the disorder at its core is greatly a sensory/cognitive issue, the involvement of high with low
frequency oscillations that support sensory/cognitive abilities could be key in understanding the core
pathophysiology of the disorder.
Application to Research
This article has helped me understand the possible underlying problems in the brain associated with
schizophrenia. This source kind of takes me away from the focal point of my research, but helps me gain a
greater breadth of information about schizophrenia. I tend to focus on anatomical and functional/structural
abnormalities, but in this article, I read about the electrophysiology of the disorder- giving me a more
widespread understanding of the theories and findings floating around. If I chose to use EEG in my
experimentation, I will have to gain a greater understanding of the electrophysiology and the terms that are
used. Knowing what to look for in the brain waves is crucial to understanding the oscillations and encoding of
information, whether normally or abnormally, by the brain. Also, this article supports Dr. Tang’s theory of
schizophrenia that it is in fact a thought disorder relating to abnormal encoding and recall of working/short term
Niznikiewicz, M. A., Kubicki, M., Mulert, C., & Condray, R. (2013). Schizophrenia as a disorder of
communication. Schizophrenia Research and Treatment, 2013. doi: 10.1155/2013/952034
A comprehensive theory of schizophrenia’s pathology has not reached a consensus yet. This article
characterizes schizophrenia with four A’s: “association…[ focus on disordered language], affectivity,
ambivalence, and autism” (Niznikiewicz, 2013). These four A’s work together to generate the social
communication dysfunction that is seen in schizophrenics. This article further explains how these functions
define schizophrenia as a disorder of communication. Specifically, how there are a newly defined ‘hot and cold’
cognition. Hot cognitions are those that include abnormalities in emotional processing; whether the person can
demonstrate emotional understanding from gestures, facial expressions, voice, etc. Cold cognition includes the
capacity for attention, memory, operations, and language and perceptual mechanisms. With abnormalities in
these categories, the overall social cognition impairments actually contribute to functional outcomes in
The authors propose that cognitive dysfunction in schizophrenia “should be conceptualized as a disorder
of communication rather that of language itself and that communication disorder is the core clinical deficit of
schizophrenia” (Niznikiewicz, 2013). They believe that the current focus, neither the theories based on language
or social cognition, does not capture the full range of communicative difficulties that present in schizophrenia.
Communication and language greatly depend on perceptual processes of another person’s behavior and speech-
as well as usage of higher order processing such as working memory, attention, inhibition, and response
selection. “The authors articulate their proposal of language impairment within the framework of domain
general control mechanisms as mediated at the brain level by dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) and
anterior cingulate cortex (ACC). They argue that it is these impaired mechanisms that mediate most severe
language dysfunction in schizophrenia. This proposal is distinctly different from the hypothesis that language
abnormality in schizophrenia is primarily rooted in abnormal processes within semantic memory”
(Niznikiewicz, 2013).
The article then goes on to summarize other studies that relate to the topic of what kind of disorder is
schizophrenia, and how it fits into the communication dysfunction in patients.
Application to Research
I have read and heard of a lot of different theories on schizophrenia, it is getting kind of difficult to remember
and allocate information. I believe when I go to write my paper, and even my proposal, I may have to go back
and differentiate between the theories that I have read so far. Also, I am a little bit confused on what the author
means by “inhibition” as a higher-order process. I believe that what is attempted to be said in regards to this
concept is very important for my understanding of this new theory. Anyways, I am slightly conflicted on the
proposal of this editorial because the authors’ proposal does not explain the onset and occurrence of psychotic
symptoms. I believe their focus is one-sided toward the negative symptoms- ignoring the positive symptoms
such as hallucinations.

Pilny, Susanna. “This Is Your Brain on Art: Researchers Record Brain Waves in Art Galleries.”Redorbit, 15
Nov. 2015, www.redorbit.com/news/science/1113410793/this-is-your-brain-on-art-researchers- record-
This brief article explains how the brain waves change when you look at artwork. It explains a study
that was conducted which used about 430 people and measured their brain activity as they walked around an art
gallery. Taking place in a natural setting, this study is quite unconventional as there are many uncontrollable
variables, yet it gives the most natural brain reading. They were looking at how the brain activity occurs in
action and in context. That being said, the researchers claim that “This work provides evidence that EEG
[electroencephalogram], deployed on freely behaving subjects, can detect selective signal flow in neural
networks, identify significant differences between subject groups, and report with greater-than-chance accuracy
the complexity of a subject's visual perception of aesthetically pleasing art." (Pilny, 2015). So, this means that in
this natural setting, the EEG was able to pick up on significant networks even with the presence of uncontrolled
disturbances. In most subjects, when looking at artwork, the posterior regions broadly face large amounts of
activity, then migrate over to the anterior regions.
The researchers were also able to determine (with 55% accuracy) whether the person was looking at a
blank wall, a moderately complex artwork, or a complex artwork. This statistic was found to be much better
than simply guessing, so this gives hope for other researchers about natural-setting experiments.
Application to Research
I learned that natural-setting experiments are actually able in receiving significant data, which gives me
hope for my future data collection. I found that this article mostly inspired me and brought new ideas about
what I could do for my project. I think investigating how emotions affect art production and how art affects
emotions through EEG data could really help the understanding of neural pathways for emotions.
The article briefly mentioned that there may be an underlying neural network specifically for artistic-based
thinking, which I am interested in exploring in more depth. I bet I could apply this to my art therapy project

Purves, D., Augustine, G. J., Fitzpatrick, D., Hall, W. C., LaMantia, A. S., McNamara, J. O., & White, L. E.
(Eds.) (2008). Speech and language. Neuroscience (4th ed.) (pp. 687-706). Sunderland, MA: Sinauer
The chapter from the textbook, “Neuroscience” by Purves et al., explains the basic theories and
concepts of language in humans. Semantic processing is generally located on the left hemisphere about the
temporal cortex, and the motor commands that produce speech are located in the left frontal lobe. The affective
content of language is processed and created on the right hemisphere. So, language processing is both localized
and lateralized in the brain. “But the true significance of lateralization for language (or any other cognitive
ability) lies in the efficient subdivision of complex functions between hemispheres rather than in any superiority
of one hemisphere over the other.” (Purves et al., 2008)
Sometimes the language processing centers of parts of the brain may fail and cause certain aphasias.
Broca’s area affects the ability to produce language efficiently- causing motor or expressive aphasia. On the
other hand, Wernicke’s area is associated with understanding spoken language, thus causing sensory or
receptive aphasia. Conduction aphasia refers to the syndrome that arises when the connections between
Wernicke’s and Broca’s area severed. The patient generally has an inability to respond appropriately to
communication even though they understood it. The textbook also covers the concepts of split-brain and other
language lateralizations. It gives insight into how anatomical and experimental data prove brain-function
concepts that relate to the production and processing of language.
Application to Research
I have this textbook at home and I will be able to refer to it again. It gives a general overview of
language processing and production and of certain syndromes that can arise from complications to brain
functionalities. It goes into enough depth, while remaining student-reader friendly, yet gives the global idea of
the neuroscience of language. Knowing the general overview will help me understand and relate future data to
possible explanations. Schizophrenics have language processing difficulties, so knowing which parts of the
brain to focus on can help me funnel down on certain aspects of a data collection, and vice versa. This reference
can also help me check for accuracy in some of my findings.
Sapolsky, R. [Stanford]. (2010, May 26). 24. Schizophrenia [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube
This video is a lecture from Stanford University about an in-depth view into schizophrenia presented by
Robert Sapolsky. He introduces schizophrenia as a disorder of thought and of inappropriate emotional
responses. “It is a disease of inappropriate attribution or things... this is not some sort of generic craziness...
there are typical structures to the ways of which things are not working right” (Sapolsky, 2010). It is a disease
of abnormal sequential thought. Instead of going from point A to B to C, they go from point A to Z, their stories
are all over the place, yet you can kind-of see how they associated two things that they have said. They can’t
hold onto sequential communication. Schizophrenics are very literal in meaning and experience concrete
thinking, where they do not understand abstraction.
Also, Sapolsky mentioned a theory that states that auditory hallucinations are much more prevalent than visual
ones because we are more accustomed to what we see, there is not much abstraction to it. Auditory on the other
hand, involves interpretation of noise: whether the bang was something falling or part of the music. Auditory
stimuli is more common in not making sense.
Schizophrenia has no hidden blessing whatsoever. In the disorder, the more clear-headed the more you
can reflect back on your life and use the default mode network of the brain. Although, the more clear-headed
you are, the more likely you are to kill yourself. That being said, schizophrenia is not a scenario of ‘a beautiful
mind- different types of people in a crazy world’, it is a damaging disorder.
Application to Research
Sapolsky explaining what the types of disease that schizophrenia is (ex. A disease of communication, a disorder
of thought, etc.) was really helpful in giving me an understanding of the complexity and basis that builds up the
entire phenomenon of the disorder. The fact that schizophrenic thinking is non-abstract and is very concrete yet
not sequential is actually a problem for my research because art psychotherapy involves symbolic representation
which is an abstract form of thinking. With schizophrenics taking things very literally, it could be hard to get
past that barrier to get insight to their symptoms.

Sheffield, Julia M., et al. “Evidence for Accelerated Decline of Functional Brain Network Efficiency in
Schizophrenia.” OUP Academic, Oxford University Press, 15 Oct. 2015, academic.oup.com/
The study, as explained in the article, focuses on determining whether accelerated cognitive aging is
related to schizophrenia. As stated by Sheffield, Julia M., et al. (2015) “individuals with schizophrenia have, on
average, a 20% decrease in life expectancy as compared to the general population. Given these trends, some
have hypothesized that schizophrenia is a disorder of “accelerated aging,” suggesting that individuals with
schizophrenia experience age-related decline in functional, clinical, and biological processes at an elevated rate
—a process first introduced through Kraepelin’s conceptualization of schizophrenia as “dementia praecox,” a
chronic and deteriorating neuropsychiatric disorder.” The researchers used different large-scale functional brain
networks, especially those involved in higher-order cognitive abilities. They wanted to see whether the
degradation of these networks were in parallel to the widely supported idea of accelerated decline in white
matter integrity.
Their hypothesis was supported by the results. Their findings showed that the networks and differences that
occur in normal aging was significantly accelerated in people with schizophrenia. Two networks were
especially different from controls: the cingulo-opercular network (CON) and the fronto-parietal network (FPN)
both are involved in higher-level cognition and crystallized intelligence. Although, crystallized intelligence was
not significant to the disorder, as expressed in this article. The connectivity within these two networks were
decreased. Over the years for schizophrenics, the functional and whole brain networks over time had reductions
in functional integration, and reduced fault tolerance (a network’s resiliency to the removal of nodes). This is
what happens in normal aging, but schizophrenics experience this at a younger age and quicker rate than
normal. That being said, there is a well-developed explanation for the idea that schizophrenia is a
neurodegenerative disorder.
Application to Research
I enjoyed reading this article because it gave me a breadth of information relating to how schizophrenia affects
the person, and in this case, over time. I may not be using this information directly within my research project,
but I definitely will be referring to it when I want to look back on which networks are at fault in schizophrenia,
and how significant the damage is. I believe that there is a strong connection between sensory gating deficits
and the degradation of neuro-connectivity, as I believe that the inability to filter out useless information sort-of
‘wears out’ the neurons thus resulting in the bad connections. It could be something worth investigating- I could
throw this idea to the people at my other internship since they are studying the sensory gating phenomenon.

Stegmayer, Katharina, et al. “Limbic Interference During Social Action Planning in Schizophrenia.” OUP
Academic, Oxford University Press, 30 May 2017, academic.oup.com/schizophreniabulletin/article/
Schizophrenia is greatly associated with language processing deficits. This scholarly journal article
investigated poor social interactions and poor social planning, by analyzing hand gestures from patients vs.
controls. Hand gestures as nonverbal communication are an essential part of a good interaction. In
schizophrenics, there are findings that suggest, “poor nonverbal social perception and impaired gesture
performance are strongly associated… Recent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies indicated
aberrant neural processing in the language network in schizophrenia during perception of abstract metaphoric
gestures. Behavioral data suggests misinterpretation of incidental movements as gestures in patients with
delusions.” (Stegmayer, Katharina, et al., 2017). Also, delusions are greatly associated with abnormal activity in
the limbic region. Meaning that poor hand gestures in schizophrenics correlates to abnormal functioning of the
limbic system. Past research has found that social planning occurs mostly in the left hemisphere about the
frontal-parietal-temporal region. It is important to note that the limbic system is the emotional processing center
of the brain.
It was found that schizophrenics did, in fact, do worse in all categories that were studied from the
gestures. Significant activity was found in the amygdala, hippocampus, and temporal lobe, along the praxis
network, and concentrated on the left hemisphere. Although, the neural activation was not very prominent. That
being said, the usage of limbic system in communication was associated with delusions.
Application to Research
Although I am pursuing a research topic on how art therapy can open the hidden/non-communicative
explanations or symptoms in people with schizophrenia, I hope to gain as much in-depth information about the
disorder and the possible symptoms. This article helps me understand how poor communication skills are
related to the emotional part of the brain. Using this knowledge, I hope to be able to connect separate ideas
using knowledge of which parts of the brain are affected by what behavior. And be able to link a symptom with
a deeper, more intuitive explanation or risk factor.

Tang, C., M. (2018, January 10). Personal communication.

On January 10th, I asked Dr. Cha Minh Tang a couple of interview questions. This is not my official
interview, but I asked him similar questions to what I will ask my interviewee in order to compare and contrast
answers about a relatively unknown and non-agreeable topic.
I asked about whether abnormalities in the default mode network has anything to do with the onset of
schizophrenia, and Dr. Tang replied that we don’t know enough about the disorder to categorize certain brain
differences as a part of the disorder (C. M. Tang, personal communication, January 10, 2018). He related this
answer to my previous one of whether the development of the frontal lobes and the onset of schizophrenia had a
causation linkage to each other. Also, in response to my follow up question about if schizophrenia onset occurs
by something just ‘clicking’ in the brain, he said that he believes the onset is gradual as one can see the negative
symptoms occurring in childhood.
I wondered about the dopamine hypothesis and what ‘misfiring of dopamine’ means in relation to
schizophrenia. He responded that the dopamine hypothesis is very outdated the the newer, more fitting
explanation is by the glutamine hypothesis, which includes the explanation of the NMDA receptor. He was
saying how in glutamine antagonists such as PCP could replicate almost the exact symptoms of schizophrenia. I
asked how neural circuits are ‘altered’ in schizophrenia and he responded with that there is a NMDA receptor
hypofunction that alters the normal synapse.
He was saying how schizophrenia in his theory and findings, is characterized by ‘offbeat’ brainwaves in the
theta frequency band. The encoding of working memories is inadequate. The brainwaves are out of sync which
affect the brain’s ability to pick up information from the environment that is carried by the waves. The difficulty
in this memory encoding leads to loose associations in how the schizophrenic thinks and speaks (C. M. Tang,
personal communication, January 10, 2018).
Also, he was saying how schizophrenia’s cognitive dysfunction and negative symptoms are much more
debilitating that the positive symptoms. Although, antipsychotics only help the positive symptoms that are not
the most debilitating aspect of the disorder. In terms of positive symptoms, he said that a majority of
schizophrenics have a very similar delusion that something has been implanted in their brain and is controlling
them. This delusion crosses cultures and appears in almost all schizophrenics which cannot be explained by
current understandings (C. M. Tang, personal communication, January 10, 2018).
Application to Research
This conversation I had with Dr. Tang was very helpful in pushing me toward the right track and getting rid of
old and outdated schizophrenia theories. The Glutamine Hypothesis is something that I’ve heard of before but
never really delved into it. Also, understanding that the negative symptoms, especially the cognitive dysfunction
and loose associations and their connections to theta waves was very helpful in giving me concrete evidence
that I can use to posible justify the symptoms. I will have to go back to him and ask follow up questions on his
responses to gain a more clear and in-depth insight into schizophrenia.

Walther, S., Stegmayer, K., Sulzbacher, J., Vanbellingen, T., Müri, R., Strik, W., & Bohlhalter, S. (2015).
Nonverbal social communication and gesture control in schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Bulletin, 41(2),
338-345. doi:10.3897/bdj.4.e7720.figure2f
It is known that people with schizophrenia have severe deficits in nonverbal communication, such as
poor gestures and social perceptions. The study conducted from this journal article sets out to test whether poor
social perception was linked to poor gesture control, gesture knowledge, and/or motor impairments. In all
aspects of gesturing, transitive and intransitive, schizophrenics were found to have done worse than controls.
Especially in imitative and spontaneous tasks. That being said, schizophrenics often misinterpret hand gestures,
and have a hard time correctly representing a certain task, such as brushing one’s teeth. Impaired hand gesture
communication has actually been linked to conceptual disorganization in this disorder. Often, the social
perceptions of schizophrenics are inaccurate and lead to misinterpretations of another person’s body language.
The results showed four main ideas. The patients had deficits in gestural knowledge, thus confirming the
fact that gesture production and nonverbal social perceptions were impaired in schizophrenics. Second, gesture
performance were in fact associated with poor social perception. Possibly, this phenomenon having to do with
mirror neurons. Third, the motor and frontal cortices were common factors associated with the low
performances, abnormal in the patients. Finally, this association is only partially mediated by the motor/frontal
Application to Research
I need to understand why schizophrenics have a difficult time communicating, so I would know how to
formulate my data collection. Understanding the communication deficits would help me understand what art
therapy techniques would work, and which I should avoid researching. The fact that schizophrenics also have
nonverbal impairments in communication makes my research more difficult. I wonder if creating
artwork/communicating through symbols is also in the impairment category. I would have to look further into
this in order to make sure that I know where the creation of art stands in their communication abilities.

Waters, Flavie, et al. “What Is the Link Between Hallucinations, Dreams, and Hypnagogic–Hypnopompic
Experiences?” OUP Academic, Oxford University Press, 29 June 2016, academic.oup.com/
The article describes the relationships between dreams and hallucinations. This seems to be a meta-
analysis of all the evidence collected that relates to the topic of altered perspectives. There is no concrete
definition to either of those, except that hallucinations occur while the person is awake. The major differences
between the two terms is that “most sleep-related perceptions are immersive and largely cut off from reality,
whereas many types of hallucinations are discrete and appear as overlaid on regular sense perceptions, with the
physical environment as a backdrop onto which hallucinated contents are projected” (Waters, Flavie, et al.,
2016). Also, hallucinations make people wonder whether their eyes are playing tricks on them, in dreams this is
not the case.
Hypnagogia (different than dreams) is determined to be an intermediate between dreams and
hallucinations. This is the limbo between REM sleep and a waking state where the person is said to have a
reduction in cortical inhibitory controls, and conscious ability. The person is still experiencing wild imagination
and perceptions, yet are partially conscious of it at times during this state. The authors mentioned that
hypnagogia could be a very close relative to that of hallucinations, as both share the factor that the person is
conscious (at least partially) during the altered perceptions and are separate from the reality of the external
A figure was added below which gives a nice overview of the different forms of visual experiences that
are less concrete in definitions. There needs to be more literature that investigates the spectrum between these
experiences, to help differentiate between them.
Application to Research
I am trying to find a research topic that goes beyond just quantitative reasoning, like one that offers something
more interesting than significant numbers relating to parts of the brain. I am not a math person, so I believe that
qualitative research is the way to go for me. I believe something intuitive such as dream analysis, art therapy,
hallucination explanations, etc. is so interesting yet so uncertain regarding accuracy. After reading this, I found
that I want to somehow find a way to bring a sense of certainty to the results of these kinds of research projects.
Seeing that this article connects my knowledge of neuroscience and this new domain, I may want to refer back
to this to gather more ideas for a research topic.

Yasgur, Batya Swift. “Art Therapy as an Intervention for Psychosis.” Psychiatry Advisor, 10 Jan. 2017,
This article is another source describing what art therapy is, and how it can be useful to people with
psychosis. As Yasgur wrote in 2017, “Disordered thinking and cognitive impairment are features of many
psychotic disorders, which make it difficult for individuals to engage in primarily talk-based therapies... But the
mindful process involved in the art projects allows participants to bring their presentness, rather than verbal or
cognitive processing, to the activity”. This is the beauty of art therapy. It gives psychologists/psychiatrists
another way to understand patients, on another level, especially when they’re non-verbal.
A detailed insight into a person’s subconscious can truly bring about suppressed emotions or explanations for
an issue. Then, psychologists may use this level of understanding to accordingly treat the patient. Other than
being used as an explanatory device, art therapy gives the patient an opportunity to practice mindfulness which
may really help combat confusion and irritation, among other symptoms that come with psychotic episodes.
The author explains how art therapy is a great opportunity to help the patients socialize, as it may be performed
in groups where people are able to learn to cope and integrate in social situations. As Yasgur mentions, there is
clear evidence that art therapy is a beneficial form of treatment. As both, patients and their loved ones notice
signs of improvement in mental health.
Application to Research
This article can be used to cite and to refer back upon. It was similar to the article I read earlier, but this one
emphasized how group dynamics of this therapy has a major effect on improvements in functioning. As
psychotic disorders are so debilitating where the person loses functionality in almost all aspects of life, art
therapy through groups offers a package deal in treating multiple domains of the illness at once. I am very
intrigued by how practicing art can be so therapeutic; I would love to explore this further.