Publication Date

2012-08-01

Availability

Open access

Embargo Period

2012-08-01

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)

Department

Psychology (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense

2011-03-25

First Committee Member

Amy Weisman de Mamani

Second Committee Member

Jutta Joormann

Third Committee Member

Edward Rappaport

Fourth Committee Member

Laura Kohn-Wood

Fifth Committee Member

Craig Marker

Abstract

The spectrum perspective views schizotypy as a subclinical expression of schizophrenic psychopathology resulting from shared etiology (Claridge & Beech, 1995). Research on normative populations scoring high on schizotypy is valuable because performance is not confounded by issues often present in schizophrenia samples. Research on schizotypy is also important because it may help elucidate the predisposition to schizophrenia (Jahshan & Sergi, 2007). Prior efforts to establish the underlying multidimensional construct of schizotypy have not been entirely consistent, but have generally supported a four-factor model when more comprehensive measures of schizotypy are used (Reynolds, Raine, Mellingen, Venables, & Mednick, 2000). The current study replicated the four-factor model of schizotypy including positive, negative, disorganized and impulsive nonconformity factors via Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA). The current study also examined associations between several cognitive biases associated with the pathogenesis and maintenance of psychosis and latent factors of schizotypy. As hypothesized, increased self-certainty (SC), decreased Theory of Mind (ToM) and decreased source memory (SM) were associated with higher ratings in the positive schizotypy factor. Also consistent with our hypotheses, increased SC was associated with higher ratings on the impulsive noncomformity schizotypy factor. We also found several associations that we had not anticipated. Specifically, increased SC was associated with higher ratings on the negative schizotypy factor. We also found that increased SM was significantly associated with greater impulsive noncomfortity schizotypy factor scores. Contrary to our hypotheses, decreased SC and increased ToM were associated with higher ratings in the disorganized schizotypy factor. Our results suggest that cognitive biases present in schizophrenia samples are also present in individuals rating high on domains of schizotypy. Our findings offer new insights by highlighting cognitive biases that may be important to remediate via psychological interventions.

Keywords

schizotypy; psychosis-proneness; source memory; theory of mind

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