The aim of this paper was to study anomalies of self- and world experience in schizophrenia from a phenomenological perspective through the use of the Examination of Anomalous Self-Experience (EASE) and Examination of Anomalous World Experience (EAWE) interviews. Four patients with diagnoses of schizophrenia were interviewed with both the EASE and the EAWE. A qualitative analysis of these interviews was carried out on all the data; quantitative scores were also assigned, based on the frequency and intensity of the items endorsed by the subjects. In the EASE, the subjects endorsed an average frequency of 45% of all items. In the EAWE, the subjects endorsed an average frequency of 26% of all items. Furthermore, the EAWE data indicated more heterogeneous profiles of experience than the EASE data. This heterogeneity is not surprising, given that the EAWE was designed to be a more broad-based or less targeted exploration of various changes likely to be associated with the schizophrenia spectrum (but also with certain other conditions). Our data suggest that although disturbances of world experience may always be present in schizophrenia, they may take numerous and varied forms. Because the experience of the world occurs across many different modalities, disturbances of this experience would be fundamentally less unitary, whereas the experience of the self presents a more coherent and unitary gestalt. These results show a certain overlapping between the scales while also indicating the potential value of a combined use of the two instruments. Finally, we discuss the relationship between experiential description and behavioral observation, and their potentially complementary value in exploring the first-person perspective, particularly in the case of experiences that occur at a more prereflective level.
Keywords: Examination of Anomalous Self-Experience (EASE); Examination of Anomalous World Experience (EAWE); Schizophrenia; Self-experience; World experience.
© 2019 S. Karger AG, Basel.