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Monothematic Delusions: Towards a Two-Factor Account

We provide a battery of examples of delusions against which theoretical accounts can be tested. Then we identify neuropsychological anomalies that could produce the unusual experiences that may lead, in turn, to the delusions in our battery. However, we argue against Maher's view that delusions are false beliefs that arise as normal responses to anomalous experiences. We propose, instead, that a second factor is required to account for the transition from unusual experience to delusional belief. The second factor in the etiology of delusions can be described superficially as a loss of the ability to reject a candidate for belief on the grounds of its implausibility and its inconsistency with everything else that the patient knows, but we point out some problems that confront any attempt to say more about the nature of this second factor.

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