Patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders experience severe difficulties in interpersonal communication, as described by traditional psychopathology and current research on social cognition. From a linguistic perspective, pragmatic abilities are crucial for successful communication. Empirical studies have shown that these abilities are significantly impaired in this group of patients. Prosody, the tone of voice with which words and sentences are pronounced, is one of the most important carriers of pragmatic meaning and can serve a range of functions from linguistic to emotional ones. Most of the existing literature on prosody of patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders focuses on the expression of emotion, generally showing significant impairments. By contrast, the use of non-emotional prosody in these patients is scarcely investigated. In this paper, we first present a linguistic model to classify prosodic functions. Second, we discuss existing studies on the use of non-emotional prosody in these patients, providing an overview of the state of the art. Third, we delineate possible future lines of research in this field, also taking into account some classical psychopathological assumptions, for both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes.
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