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Original Paper

Psychopathology Received: January 4, 2017

Accepted after revision: September 13, 2017
DOI: 10.1159/000481516
Published online: ■■■

New Insight into Affectivity in

Schizophrenia: from the Phenomenology
of Marc Richir
Tudi Gozé a, b Till Grohmann d Jean Naudin c Michel Cermolacce c
a Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Art Therapy, Toulouse University Hospital, and b Equipe de

Recherche sur les Rationalités Philosophiques et les Savoirs (ERRaPhiS – EA 3051), University of Toulouse Jean
Jaurès, Toulouse, and c Department of Psychiatry, Sainte Marguerite University Hospital, Marseilles, France;
d Philosophisches Seminar, Bergische Universität Wuppertal, Wuppertal, Germany

1. Please confirm that authors' names and initials have been identified correctly.
2. Ref. [19] has been deleted as it was the same as Ref. [6].
3. Please check that Ref. [30] is now correct (you cannot mention 2 books in the same
Ref.). Thank you.

Keywords hension. By drawing on the phenomenology of Marc Richir,

Schizophrenia spectrum · Affectivity · Phenomenology · we will systematically unfold the complex nature of affectiv-
Psychopathology · Embodied intersubjectivity · Marc ity and lead it back to a twofold constitution of corporeality.
Richir · Corporeality Conclusion: The Richirian account on affectivity can be
fruitfully put into discussion with other recent phenomeno-
logical models on schizophrenia. It might be able to exhibit
Abstract affectivity as the operative ground of minimal self-distur-
Background: According to Karl Jaspers, psychopathology bance and thus argue for its intersubjective dimension.
requires a comprehensive method, understood as a system- © 2017 S. Karger AG, Basel
atic exploration of the first-person perspective of the pa-
tient’s experience. At the same time, however, schizophre-
nia for Jaspers is characterized by its radical incompre- Introduction to the Notion of Affectivity in
hensibility. In addition, Rümke’s so-called “praecox feeling” Schizophrenia
paradoxically combines the incomprehensibility of schizo-
phrenic experience and the evidence of its pathological Since Karl Jaspers, a phenomenological attitude in
manifestation in the encounter. Aim: Through a re-exami- psychiatry has been understood to call for a comprehen-
nation of the notions of affectivity and interaffective contact sive rather than an explicative method [1]. Psychopathol-
we propose a coherent theoretical model to explain the cli- ogy requires a method of exploration of first-person per-
nician’s paradoxical understanding of schizophrenia. Meth- spective of the patient’s experience, an investigation
od: Phenomenological tradition regards affectivity as an en- “from within.” Such a methodological, epistemological,
compassing phenomenon that connects body, self, world, and ethical claim, however, relies on the idea that an un-
and others. In our view, only a thorough and systematic link derstanding of the other’s experience is possible [2, 3].
between corporeity and affectivity is able to explain em- Jaspers argues that empathic understanding enables us to
bodied affective resonance as a basis of empathic compre- resonate with the cognitive and affective states of others

© 2017 S. Karger AG, Basel Dr. Tudi Gozé

Service de Psychiatrie, Psychothérapies et Art-Thérapie
Pavillon Sénac, CHU Purpan, Place Baylac TSA 40031
E-Mail karger@karger.com
FR–31059 Toulouse, Cedex 9 (France)
E-Mail t.goze @ hotmail.fr

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[4, pp. 93–117, 5]. Nevertheless, there are limits to the subjective disturbances that are related to the
very possibility of a comprehensive phenomenology in schizophrenia spectrum [6, 19–21].
the encounter of schizophrenic patients. According to Recent developments in French phenomenology can
Jaspers, the “primary experiences” of schizophrenic delu- be described by a certain theoretical turn towards an “asu-
sion are characterized for the clinician by the radical in- bjective phenomenology” [22] which proposes to think
comprehensibility of their subjective aspect. But if it is affectivity as an encompassing phenomenon beyond the
true for the clinician that schizophrenic experience con- subject/object dualism, and thus not only as a mere per-
stitutes a radical otherness, how then can it be described sonal experience. In our view, this alternative conception
in a genuine phenomenological perspective? Where and of affectivity delivers the missing link between self-cen-
how can we find an access, albeit precarious and fleeting, tered, personal, and intersubjective conceptions of affec-
allowing the clinician to develop a genuine phenomeno- tivity. By drawing on this asubjective conception of af-
logical description of schizophrenia? Without interaffec- fectivity, the present article aims to rethink the specific
tive contact, there is no basis for an intuitive empathic relevance of affectivity for the psychopathological under-
understanding [6]. However, if, with Jaspers [4, p. 447], standing of schizophrenia from an original phenomeno-
we acknowledge the unshareability of delusional experi- logical perspective. Primarily, we discuss the classic view-
ence, do we not thereby paradoxically acknowledge that point of phenomenology on affectivity. Secondly, we re-
people with schizophrenia affect us, touch us, often in a fer to Marc Richir’s phenomenology, which provides a
disturbing way? This ambiguity of the notion of affectiv- strong heuristic device for developing a consistent phe-
ity in schizophrenia bursts in all its complexity with the nomenological standpoint on affectivity in schizophrenia
phenomenon of the “praecox feeling,” defined by Henri- [23]. We examine the notion of affectivity within the
cus Cornelius Rümke [7] as the feeling of strangeness Richirian theory of embodiment. This helps us to better
arising in the clinician in contact with a person with grasp the paradoxical nature of affectivity, which we refer
schizophrenia. According to Rümke, the “praecox feeling” to, in a final step of our argument, as the clinical core of
allows some very skilled psychiatrist to diagnose schizo- schizophrenia.
phrenia at first sight [8]. Rümke claims that the “praecox
feeling” allows denoting a certain “lack of exchange of af-
fect” with the patient, such as an impossibility for empa- A Phenomenological Perspective on Affectivity
thizing with his/her affective experience. Paradoxically, if
this feeling arises in the clinician as an elusive atmo- Defining affectivity is a complex task. As a matter of
sphere, it nevertheless carries an ineffable evidence. The fact, the notion of affectivity, which appeared in philoso-
“praecox feeling” aggregates all at once the radical incom- phy and psychology in the 18th century, reveals a great
prehensibility of the schizophrenic experience [4, 9] and semantic diversity [23]. We find connections to emotion,
the evidence of its pathological manifestation in the en- sentiment, mood, or passions. The links and exclusions
counter [10, 11]. As a consequence, affectivity reveals it- between affectivity, affection, and affect remain largely
self as being a paradoxical but paradigmatic psychopatho- unclarified today. The Latin etymology refers to afficere,
logical operator in the difficult task of responding to the which is usually translated as “the ability to be touched.”
question: what can I know about schizophrenia? As we can see, the notion of affectivity exhibits an inner
Despite a growing number of publications that have relationship with the notion of contact in its tactile, em-
recently highlighted the importance of affectivity within bodied, and intersubjective understanding. Thus, in af-
the psychopathology of schizophrenia [12–14], the no- fectivity, we find the meaning of a certain passivity, of
tion of affectivity itself still does not appear as a key fea- being struck by the world and by others. In phenomenol-
ture in the psychopathological debate. However, classical ogy, affectivity refers primarily to the ability of the subject
psychopathology has already emphasized the link be- to be affected by the outside world. As Martin Heidegger
tween affectivity and the core psychopathology of schizo- underlined with his notion of Stimmung [24], our open-
phrenia [15–17]. The influential conceptualization of ness to the world and others is determined by a certain
schizophrenia as a disorder of minimal-self has clearly affective disposition (Befindlichkeit). However, by lack-
highlighted the involvement of diminished self-affecta- ing a systematic elaboration of affectivity’s foundation in
tion as a basic component of the disorder’s core distur- embodiment, the Heideggerian account on affectivity re-
bance [12, 18]. Others emphasize the embodied dimen- mains abstract and is inefficient for understanding the
sion of affectivity as central for understanding the inter- intersubjective encounter as an intercorporeal or interaf-

2 Psychopathology Gozé/Grohmann/Naudin/Cermolacce
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fective phenomenon. In order to solve our problem of af- pace for our relationship with the world by determining it
fectivity as a contagious intersubjective phenomenon, we in its very familiarity, strangeness, harmony, and dishar-
need a systematic phenomenological account on embodi- mony. It is the ground of our everyday connection with the
ment, as one can find for instance in Maurice Merleau- world, a ground we always take for granted as obvious and
Ponty [25]. Merleau-Ponty’s theory of operative inten- unquestioned.
tionality helps us to prepare the conceptual frame in Human beings all have their own affective tone which
which Richir’s own account has to be situated. colors their entire experience. And although this affective
Merleau-Ponty was one of the first to systematically tone involves a contact with reality of the most intimate
criticize any too-narrow concept of intentionality in which level, it is paradoxically “contagious” [27] in the intersub-
the “sense (Sinn)” of the world is restricted to the realm of jective encounter. As a matter of fact, the affective tone is
language and categorial forms. He rejected the idea of a somehow sensible beyond any linguistic communication.
merely cognizing subject and concentrated on the consti- We could say that every full-blown interpersonal relation
tutive intentional ground of the wide spectrum of affective, involves two “moments”: a primordial and presubjective
emotional, and sensorimotor significance. With his notion affective attunement and an explicit identification be-
of an “operative intentionality” he provided a unitary con- tween self and other as two separate egos with two physi-
cept for a diversity of nonverbal forms of understanding ologically understood bodies. Only in the latter moment
reality. In Merleau-Ponty’s terms, operative intentionality does the other become the endpoint of an intentional ap-
is “that which produces the natural and antepredicative perception. Real relating involves a constant interplay be-
unity of the world and of our life” [25, XVII]. It does not tween these two moments. In psychiatric practice, it is a
simply orientate us to objects by local operations of act in- rather common experience to feel euphoric in contact
tentionality, but discloses the subject’s worldly horizon with a manic person or, on the contrary, to feel one’s own
and constitutes experience as a field of possibility. It guar- body collapse under the weight of the melancholic com-
antees the subject’s “transcendence” [25, p. 372] and there- plaint. Since it is tacit and prereflective, this phenomenon
by institutes a form of presence which is fundamentally often happens without our knowledge. Its genesis escapes
“ek-static” [25, p. 382]. This means that as soon as we are us. But even beyond these particularly pertinent encoun-
affected by the world, we are affecting the world in return ters with persons with affective disorders, the contagious-
too. Affectivity, in its embodied dimension, is thereby pro- ness of affectivity concerns every situation and even the
jected within the world – binding, tying, and invading its most banal ones. Considering this very contagiousness of
objects. Affectivity tints the world in such a way that I rec- our seemingly private affective relationship with the
ognize the world as mine. It has to be underlined that this world, we might have to think of affectivity in terms of an
subjective impregnation of the world occurs without ex- intersubjectively articulated meshing of atmospheres. In
plicit awareness – it strangely operates before our encoun- almost all of our everyday encounters there is a funda-
ter with it. Affectivity is therefore said to be prereflective, mental intertwinement of affectivities. How can we make
which means that it occurs upstream of any object con- understandable that affectivity interferes with the mind
sciousness. In this sense, we can say that affectivity pre- and the body of each person yet referring to our most in-
cedes every explicit experience of the world, of others, and timate relationship with the world? In order to clarify this
of oneself. It provides the minimal intentional matrix of paradox, we now present the relevance of Marc Richir’s
contact with the world, others, and oneself. Affectivity, phenomenology for psychopathological research.
thus, cannot be thought of as a simple category of human
experience, as for instance an emotion or memory. Neither
can it be reduced to a psychological or perceptual state Richir’s Views on Affectivity and Schizophrenia
[19]. Furthermore, the subject has no control over this ex-
periential field. It is not constituted by consciousness, even Phenomenological Architectonics of Affectivity
though it reveals itself to consciousness as a tacit, nonver- Physicist and philosopher, Marc Richir was born in
bal, and fundamentally elusive phenomenon. Affectivity is 1943 and died in 2015. He can be associated with the 3rd
thus impossible to locate, is everywhere and nowhere at generation of phenomenologists. His work is intended as
once, and is unassignable and escaping: the human-being a “recast” and a “refounding” of phenomenology [28]. As
“always-already” finds him/herself affected in a certain a preliminary statement, we must admit that it is not easy
passivity. On this understanding, affectivity is that which to present Richir’s thought without betraying its radical
unfolds the “color of the atmosphere” [24, 26]. It sets the project. Indeed, it is a revolutionary and fundamentally

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vivid thought. Providing a short summary of his thinking, ly instituted delimitation of the newborn and the care-
as we try to do in the following, therefore necessarily runs giver. For Richir, the adult’s affective relationship with
the risk of substantiating certain of his notions, which the world emerges out of this primordial relational space
nonetheless must be understood in their fundamental vi- [32]. This is the reason he describes affectivity as a “living
tality. Richir’s philosophy is a living and dynamic think- fossil” [27], a vivid residue of our life before any subject/
ing that focuses on the most archaic and originary layers object polarization as well as before any “symbolic institu-
of subjectivity. It thus constitutes a paradoxical undertak- tion” of language. According to Richir, this very archaic
ing since it seeks to articulate in verbal terms phenomena relationship to the world is not forgotten by the develop-
that are fundamentally “beyond-language” (“hors-lan- ing child and is still present as bodily and affective phe-
gage”) [29], that is, the grounding structures which si- nomena. Affectivity is still “here” and colors our current
lently underlie our entire contact with the world. In order field of experience. It somehow rises up in an uncon-
to introduce the Richirian project of a refounded phe- trolled way – and from the deeper archaic layer of the ex-
nomenology, we restrict our analysis to the points we be- periential field. Affectivity, according to Richir, is a “wild
lieve important for our own argument. being” (“Wesen sauvage”) [27, p. 60].
In his masterwork, Méditations phénoménologiques This view of affectivity is to be distinguished, however,
[29], Richir proceeds to a phenomenological reduction of from recent phenomenological models of the articulation
the duality between the constituting subject and the con- between mood(s) and affect(s) as actual events of con-
stituted object. This method, also known as the “hyper- sciousness, such as proposed by Stanghellini and Rosfort
bolic phenomenological epoché,” involves questioning the [34] or Fuchs [35]. Understood as “feelings,” these events
idea that every relation to the world has its origin and are directly accessible to consciousness and operate as al-
source in the intimacy of an ego, which relates to a world ready symbolically coded significations (such as anger,
as an externality. Thereby challenging the dualism of a fear, or joy). The Richirian account differs from these au-
subjective intimacy and an objective externality, Richir thors insofar as it situates affectivity on a deeper architec-
intends to think affectivity before any “a priori” position tonic layer of the self/world relatedness. In the present
of interiority and exteriority. In other words, it offers a paper, we try to focus, following Richir, on affectivity’s
philosophy beyond the limits of an inner/outer separa- “archaic” and “wild” nature [27], as well as its unfolding
tion. Trying to lay bare the genesis of the inner/outer, somehow “below” first-personal givenness of experience.
subject/object polarization, Richir describes affectivity as Interestingly, this account might be fruitfully combined
the experiential layer in which the inseparable and syn- with a recent distinction from Parnas and Henriksen [21]
chronic constitution of self and world is possible. It ac- between two strata of the minimal-self: a “first-personal
counts not only for an inseparable unity of both terms, givenness of experience” and an “inchoate sense of self-
but also for the fundamental fact that we usually experi- presence.” As the authors suggest, only the latter is dis-
ence a reliable world, consistent, stable, and ultimately turbed in schizophrenia. As we will see, this idea finds
trustworthy. Affectivity constitutes a proof of acquain- further support in Marc Richir’s own conception. In ad-
tance: we encounter the world with the subjective quality dition, Marc Richir’s account of affectivity might be illu-
of trust. Here, trust is not to be understood as a psycho- minated by a comparison with Michel Henry’s and Jan
logical or a moral quality but as faith in the coherence and Patočka’s views of the constitutional basis for our contact
continuity of our experience. In the same respect, Mau- with the world. For Henry [36], the genuine contact with
rice Merleau-Ponty mentioned the “perceptual faith” [30, the world is lived without any distance, in subjective inti-
31], which is supported by the constant and dynamic in- macy, through what he calls “life” understood as pure
tegration of our body schematic processes. self-affection. For Patočka [37], on the contrary, our con-
In the context of this phenomenological investigation tact with the world comes from a movement that has its
into a constitutive realm of affectivity before the distinc- operational base not in the inside of the self but in the
tion of intimacy and externality, it is important to empha- world. It is, for Patočka, a purely asubjective phenome-
size Richir’s interest in Donald W. Winnicott’s theoriza- non that might be better called “world-affection.” Marc
tion of the early infant’s relationship to the environment Richir shows how our contact with the world may result
and “transitional phenomena” [32, 33]. Following Win- from both movements (the self and the world). It is con-
nicott, Richir locates the roots of affectivity in the infant’s tained neither exclusively in a subjective intimacy nor in
early contact with the world. As a not yet differentiated a worldy exteriority, but displayed as a free-floating
field of experience, this contact takes place before a clear- movement between both poles.

4 Psychopathology Gozé/Grohmann/Naudin/Cermolacce
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The Paradox of Affectivity tomical body. The embodied condition of all human life
Despite our preceding analysis, we have not yet solved which he designated as Leiblichkeit will be translated here
our so-called paradox of affectivity: namely, that it stems by “corporeality.”
from an originary and archaic layer of the self/world re- On the one hand, Richir indicates that corporeality is
latedness, but that it nonetheless resonates in the other’s involved in affectivity as the medium of our usual rela-
body, somehow spreads out and literally infects others. tionship to the world. As we have seen, embodied sche-
As a matter of fact, insofar as affectivity comes from the matism organizes the polarity of affective contact, steers
depth of the self, it is an “internal” structure of my body’s it to the world and, in return, brings it back to me, making
intimacy. Yet we cannot deny that the affective tone of the experience thereby “mine.” It is this unremitting
others is somehow felt in my own body. In the intersub- movement of deployment and withdrawal across the cor-
jective encounter, it is given to me in a way that short- poreality that ensures a continuous updating of experi-
circuits language. If affectivity is expressed through the ence. On the other hand, the body is the medium of the
body, it is, however, not explicitly perceptible as an ex- visible expression of affectivity. Richir therefore propos-
plicit object of consciousness. It is felt as the tacit tone of es, in reference to Husserl [38, p. 331], to distinguish two
an intersubjective relationship. This spreading of affectiv- facets of corporeality, one as visible – the external-living
ity is commonplace and banal; we constantly live with corporeality (Aussenleiblichkeit) – and the other as invis-
such a contagiousness: we can rejoice together, mourn ible – the inner-living corporeality (Innenleiblichkeit)
our losses, speak with one voice. This contagious and per- [27]. The latter underpins the vital dynamics of the first.
vasive relatedness thus constitutes the connective tissue If, with Richir, affectivity is lived from within and as mine
of a primordial intersubjective space – in other words, a thanks to inner-living corporeality, it is otherwise ex-
common phenomenon which is located somehow “be- pressed and visible from the outside thanks to external-
fore” or “below” the institution of the self as a body felt as living corporeality. We must keep in mind that this dis-
mine, with its absolute “here,” and separated from a body tinction does not match the anatomic topology of the
that is yours, with its relative “there.” Thus, how is it pos- Körper with an “inside” and an “outside,” taking for
sible that affectivity, coming from the depth of the expe- granted the empirical border of the skin.
riential field, may nonetheless arise in the intersubjective According to Richir, inner-living corporeality refers to
encounter and be felt through my own body and then the “intimate and archaic depths of the psychic life” [27,
resonate and attune in the other’s intimacy? Moreover, p. 62], which we understand as the tacit or “fossil” struc-
why does this phenomenon not lead to a feeling of confu- tures of the self. They refer to what Merleau-Ponty de-
sion of the two bodies? If affectivity describes an uncon- scribed as “the invisible of the visible” [30, p. 303], “the
trollable contagion, why does this basic phenomenon not unconscious of the conscious,” that is the “negative”
lead to a complete matching of our two interiorities? Ac- which “is not nothing” [30, p. 199] but supports all em-
cording to Richir, these issues constitute a core problem bodied relationships to the world [39]. External-living
of schizophrenia [27]. corporeality is the medium by which affectivity is ex-
pressed in the posture of the Leib, the tone of the voice,
The Twofold Constitution of Corporeality the choreography of gesture, in facial expression or pros-
What is the relationship of affectivity with the body? ody, by a certain bodily style, etc. – but always without
To unfold the preceding paradox, it is useful to distin- speech and below the symbolically instituted language.
guish, on the one hand, affectivity’s expression in the vis- However, Richir warns us not to reduce affectivity to its
ible side of the body and, on the other hand, the intimate mere visible expression! Corporeality is never a pure ex-
schematic structure which allows the unremitting move- teriority. Affectivity cannot be reduced to its expressive-
ment of affectivity. In consequence, if affectivity is ex- ness, since this would lead to a false and artificial expres-
pressed outside the visible body, its phenomenological sion, strange and mimed as a bad actor’s performance.
roots are nonetheless to be located within the depths of
the “lived body.” There is a subtle play of affectivity be-
tween the visible and the invisible side of the “lived body.” Metamorphosis of Affectivity in Schizophrenia
The “lived body” is neither the objective nor the physio-
logical body, but rather the body as it is experienced in its What does this imply for schizophrenia? According to
immediate and mediating character. This is what Husserl Richir, schizophrenia is characterized as a partial closure
[38] called Leib, to distinguish it from Körper, the ana- of affective contact. It constitutes a mutation of living cor-

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poreality [27] and occurs as if corporeality had been “enu- this girl, he instantly loved her and felt that she suddenly
cleated,” that is, had lost its internal dimension, the inner- stole his emotions, his enthusiasm, and his will. In Karl’s
living corporeality. In schizophrenia, affectivity becomes own theory, the girl instantly made him incapable of feel-
blinded, thereby leaving corporeality without an interior- ing anything (“this was also an act of God, present in the
ity able to ensure the mineness as well as the consistency hand of the girl). Three years later, Karl still feels nothing
of self/world relatedness. Within Richir’s thought, this inside of him and thinks that anything he does is pas-
implies two consequences. The first concerns the fact that sively acted on him and thus the result of an external in-
affective expressiveness appears as disconnected from its tentionality – precisely the girl’s will which animated his
phenomenological origin in inner-living corporeality. body from the outside. He also thinks that he needs to
Cut off from its contextual roots in the auto-coincident meet the girl again in order to be able to recover and ex-
center of experience, the expression of schizophrenic af- perience true emotions again.
fectivity appears as aberrant and disconnected from the In our view, this Richirian understanding can be com-
intersubjective atmosphere. The expression of schizo- pared with a recent phenomenological model on schizo-
phrenic affectivity appears as aberrant and disconnected phrenia called “ipseity disturbance.” This model refers to
from the intersubjective atmosphere. Affectivity goes two intrinsically related processes – “diminished self-af-
wrong, appearing as misplaced and inappropriate [13] – fection” and “hyperreflexivity.” The former refers to a
it just does not sound true. Richir suggests that this is why primary disturbance of the very sense of self-presence,
contact with a person with schizophrenia appears dis- whereas the latter implies an exaggerated consciousness
turbing and bizarre. The affective tone is not adjusted, the of normally tacit and unnoticed experiences [11]. Both of
mimicry seems robotic, the laughs unmotivated. Here are these processes describe a growing experiential distance
some hints to understand the famous “praecox feeling” as between the patient and his/her own experiences – a dis-
an expression of the schizophrenic metamorphosis of af- tance which emerges from a hardly describable experi-
fectivity. ence of strangeness and may lead to frank objectifications
The second consequence of the metamorphosis of af- and delusional interpretations of one’s own subjective
fectivity implies more directly the person’s intentional re- states. The same processes are captured by the Richirian
lationship with the world and others in paranoid delu- idea of a metamorphosis of affectivity in schizophrenia
sion: Richir emphasizes that the enucleation of corporeal- and, particularly, the notion of “enucleation of Leiblich-
ity in schizophrenia leaves affectivity without a keit,” understood as the subtraction of affectivity from
phenomenological origin in the “here” of an embodied inner-living corporeality.
privacy. In this case, “wild” affectivity is felt in pure pas- According to Richir, the passivity of the schizophrenic
sivity [27], as if it is coming from outside. Affectivity is Leib is such that corporeality seems to withdraw entirely
thus not recognized anymore as belonging to the subject into the external corporeality, while the inner corporeal-
him/herself but only felt as an intrusive and arbitrary ity appears to be in danger of disappearing. This is also
event. As Naudin [40] mentioned, this metamorphosis why people with schizophrenia sometimes feel the threat
involves an inversion of the movement of intentionality of frank annihilation or – like Karl – of being controlled
itself. Downstream the mutation of affectivity, the polar- by the outside. It is something the clinician can feel as a
ity of constitution between subject and object turns inside dull terror, a deep awkwardness that would forbid any
out and catastrophically overwhelms the self. Everything movement if we let it flow. It is the fear that the slightest
goes as if affectivity, in its constitutive dimension, chang- gesture could make both the self and the world collapse.
es direction. As if it would come from the outside, it in- Conrad called this delusional affectivity [41] “Wahnstim-
stitutes the experience of frank strangeness. Strangeness mung,” distinguishing two phases: the “Trema,” charac-
is the proper sense of the stranger, of what is not-me. Con- terizing the predelusional experience, and the “apopha-
sequently, in paranoid delusion the embodied self can be- ny,” characterizing the full-blown psychosis [42]. In the
come the objective pole of a foreign intentionality which predelusional experience of the “Trema,” the intuition of
exercises, from the outside, its influences on the Leib. For the catastrophe is imminent for the patient. It is an inef-
example, Karl, who suffers from paranoid delusions, at- fable feeling that something is brewing up. The patient
tributes to a girl (whom he met once in the context of his senses that the slightest movement could trigger the ca-
work) a considerable influence on his daily life. This girl, tastrophe. It could come from anywhere, it could be born
who lives at a distant place in another city, obliged him to anywhere; the only thing the patient is sure about is that
act by touching the back of his neck. When he first met it will overwhelm him. It is maybe this strange and inde-

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scribable intuition, this disturbing invasion of privacy in focusing on the alterations of contact and the experience
delusional affectivity, that is so evident in the “praecox of a reversed movement of intentionality in schizophre-
feeling” of schizophrenic encounter. nia. This calls for developing experimental investigations
in both directions: that of persons who experience schizo-
phrenia, and that of persons who encounter them and who
Conclusion may diagnose on the basis of such a contagious affectivity.

Affectivity is an important direction of research in

schizophrenia and psychopathology. Richir’s work pro- Disclosure Statement
vides a new model, helping us switch from an exclusively
ego-centered to a more intersubjective perspective, now The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

1 Jaspers K: The phenomenological approach 14 Sass LA: Affectivity in schizophrenia. A phe- 29 Richir M: Méditations phénoménologiques.
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New Insight into Affectivity in Psychopathology 7

Schizophrenia DOI: 10.1159/000481516

PSP481516.indd 7 18.10.2017 14:27:23