You are here: Archives / Ban Collection / Glossary: Formal disorders of thoughts
Wednesday, 22.03.2017


By Thomas A. Ban



CONTAMINATION: fusion of two or more ideas in a manner that parts of one concept are incorporated into another.

CONDENSATION:  combination of two or more loosely related ideas into one.

DISPLACEMENT: using an associated idea instead of the correct one.

IDIOSYNCRATIC SPEECH: use of an asocial dialect which is full of personal idioms. 

LITERAL PARAPHASIA:  disorder in the production of a sound or sequence of sounds in a given word.

NEOLOGISMS:  the building of new words.

ONEMATOPOESIS: a language built from neologisms.

PARALOGISM: semantically unusual use of words.

SYMBOLISM: using the concrete meaning of symbols instead of their symbolic meaning. SUBSTITUTION: replacement of a familiar concept with an unusual but similar one.

VERBAL PARAPHASIA: incorrect use of words.



ACCELERATED THINKING: an abnormally rapid flow of ideas that usually results in voluble speech, i.e., logorrhea.

FLIGHT OF IDEAS:  a loosening of internal direction or goal in the processing of thoughts.

INHIBITED THINKING: a slowed down processing of ideas. The inhibition in tempo cannot be removed, however hard the patient tries. It is subjectively experienced as if induced by an external force. 

PRESSURED THINKING: driven or kaleidoscopic thinking, in which the patient feels under great stress from disruptive and constantly recurring thoughts which seem to tangle over one another  

PROLIXITY: a milder form of flight of ideas.

RETARDED THINKING: slow, laborious flow of thoughts with continuous delays in expressing thoughts and almost no progress. The viscosity and torpidity in speech and verbal reactions are observable.



AGRAMMATIC SPEECH: a simplification and coarsening of word sequences in a manner that all unnecessary words are omitted.

ALOGIA: patient is unable to relate one idea to another and uses acts of thoughts he/she had used previously, so that no new thoughts emerge.    

ASYNDETIC THINKING: lack of genuine causal links in which clusters of more or less related sequences of thoughts, instead of well-knit sequences of thoughts are used, creating a feeling of vagueness. Patients are unable to restrict their thinking, to eliminate all unnecessary material, and to focus their thoughts on a specific topic.  

CIRCUMSTANTIAL THINKING: an inability to differentiate the essential from the unessential. The patient gets lost in insignificant details without losing track of the question.

DERAILMENT: speech proceeds along a given path and then suddenly slips into a new direction.  

DESULTORY THINKING: thoughts make jumps and proceed in an irregular way.

DRIVELLING: sequences of thoughts are fairly well formed and organized, but mixed up  

OMISSION: part of a thought from the main stream of thoughts, drops out, so that the stream of thoughts is interrupted.   

OVERINCLUSIVE THINKING: patient cannot maintain the boundaries of a topic and restrict his/her thoughts to the limits of a topic.   

RESTRICTED THINKING: poverty of ideas with shrinking of thought content and fixation on one or a few theme. Patient has difficulty switching from on topic to another and returns to a given topic again and again. A constant repetition of a specific content (theme) is present in the most severe form of restricted thinking.    

RUMINATION: Endless preoccupation or incessant concern with sometime unpleasant thoughts which are not experienced as alien and are usually related to a real situation in the patient’s life.

TANGENTIAL THINKING: talking past or around the point; thoughts diverge from the topic.. The patient seems to understand most questions, but does not answer directly, bringing up another topic or something context-wise entirely different.



ECHOLALIA: the repeating (echoing) of phrases spoken by the patient’s entourage, but some time the patient’s own thoughts.

INTERPENETRATION OF THEMES: goal directed stream of thoughts is interfered with by a stream of preoccupation that is based mainly on fantasy.

PALILALIA: repetition of words or short phrases with increasing speed but diminishing audibility.

PERSEVERATION: persistent repetition of words, phrases or sentences to the point they become meaningless.   

THOUGHT BLOCKING: sudden blocks or interruptions in the flow of thoughts without obvious reason. The patient stops in the middle of a sentence, becomes silent, and then resumes conversation on another topic.

VERBIGERATION: senseless reiteration of words; a severe form of perseveration.