Valentina Cardella Amelia Gangemi

What psychological disorders tell us about delusional and “normalµ beliefs: the case of delusion of love

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Psychopathological disorders have always represented a stimulating challenge for anyone interested in understanding the mind and its functioning. Indeed, psychopathology raises a number of questions that are still being discussed and investigated today, not least that of what actually happens to the individual’s mind when it is affected in one or more of its many aspects, like thought, emotions or beliefs. In this paper, our aim is to demonstrate that it is from the study of psychopathological disorders that it is possible to grasp in a finer and clearer way certain essential characteristics of mental functioning. We will therefore try to subvert the idea that only by understanding how the “normalµ mind works it is possible to understand what happens to the “sufferingµ mind. This will be done through dialogue and interaction between disciplines often seen as very distant from each other, such as clinical psychology, experimental psychology and cognitive science. To this end, we will examine a paradigmatic case, that of delusion of love. We want to show how this phenomenon can help us to understand certain aspects of the mind that can be traced back to beliefs, on the one hand, and to the experience of love, on the other.


  • psychological disorders
  • mind
  • delusional beliefs
  • normal beliefs
  • erotomania


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