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The Measure of MadnessPhilosophy of Mind, Cognitive Neuroscience, and Delusional Thought$
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Philip Gerrans

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780262027557

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262027557.001.0001

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The Second Factor: Default or Doxastic Incorporation

The Second Factor: Default or Doxastic Incorporation

Chapter:
(p.113) 6 The Second Factor: Default or Doxastic Incorporation
Source:
The Measure of Madness
Author(s):

Philip Gerrans

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262027557.003.0006

This chapter examines the doxastic theory of delusion that proposes an additional cognitive process, or second factor, involved in generating delusion and treats delusion as a belief about the causes of experience. The two-factor account differs from the one-factor account, which posits that delusions are produced by “broadly rational” processes of belief fixation responding to anomalous sensory or perceptual information processing. According to the two-factor theory, while anomalous perceptual or sensory processing is typically the trigger for delusion, some additional problem (the second factor) in cognitive processing is required to explain the fact that the delusion is produced and maintained in the face of its inconsistency with background beliefs. This problem can be conceptualized as a deficit (competence) or bias (performance) in belief fixation. This chapter considers the evidence from cognitive neuroscience concerning the decontextualized processing system that supervises the default mode network. It also discusses the association between the experience of depression and the content of the Cotard delusion, along with bias and default thinking in delusions.

Keywords:   doxastic theory, delusion, second factor, belief fixation, cognitive processing, decontextualized processing, default mode network, depression, default thinking

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