Ability of hypothetically psychosis-prone college students to correctly identify emotional expressions

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Committee Member

Paul H. Blaney, Committee Chair


Previous research has found that psychosis-prone, or "schizotypic," subjects seem to have minor deficits in several areas known also to be problematic in schizophrenic and other psychotic subjects. One such deficiency pertains to the ability to correctly identify emotional expressions, which may impact on other important social skills. For this study, over 400 undergraduates were screened for psychosis-proneness using the Perceptual Aberration and Magical Ideation Scales. Twenty-three hypothetically psychosis-prone participants made significantly more errors than gender, ethnicity and age-matched controls in identifying emotional expressions in a multiple-choice task. They may also be less likely to notice emotional expression in photographs compared to controls. This error of omission seems to be specifically related to score on the Perceptual Aberration Scale. Errors were made to some extent across all seven of the specific emotions examined. Schizotypic participants were also more likely to report having been in psychotherapy for reasons of emotional distress than a group of control students.


Psychology, Clinical

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