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Unformatted text preview: Copyright The British Psychological Society Reproduction in any form (including the internet) is prohibited without prior permission from the Society Subclinical delusional ideation and a self-reference bias in everyday reasoning Niall Galbraith 1 *, Ken Manktelow 2 and Neil Morris 2 1 Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick, UK 2 School of Applied Sciences, University of Wolverhampton, UK Previous studies (e.g. Moller & Husby, 2000; Blackwood et al. , 2004) have revealed that delusional thinking is accompanied by an exaggerated focus upon the self and upon stimuli that are perceived to be related to the self. The objective was to examine whether those high in subclinical delusional ideation exhibit a heightened tendency for self-reference. Using a mixed design, healthy individuals, classified into high- and low- scoring groups on the Peters et al. Delusions Inventory (Peters, Day, & Garety, 1996), were compared on everyday reasoning tasks across three experiments. High-PDI scorers, in contrast to the low-PDI group, rated self-referent objections to everyday arguments as stronger than other-referent objections and formulated more self- referent assertion-based objections to everyday arguments. The findings support the notion that subclinical delusional ideation is linked to a self-reference bias, which is evident in the sort of everyday thinking that people engage in when forming or evaluating their beliefs and which may contribute to delusion formation. The continuity model of mental illness (e.g. Claridge, 1988; Claridge & Beech, 1995; Linney, Peters, & Ayton, 1998) argues that psychotic symptoms are continuous with normality: at one end of the continuum lie normal healthy cognition and behaviour, at the opposite end of the spectrum lies the characteristics of mental illness. However, mild or subclinical versions of psychotic characteristics can be found, to varying degrees, across the spectrum. A major subclinical category of psychotic behaviour is referred to as schizotypy (Claridge, 1988; Meehl, 1962, 1990). Evidence for the construct validity of schizotypy has been firmly established. High schizotypes compare to schizophrenic patients on a range of characteristics, including, for example, phenomenology (Kendler, 1985), impaired sustained attention (Lenzen- weger, Cornblatt, & Putnick, 1991) and performance deficits on the Wisconsin Card- sorting task (Lenzenweger & Korfine, 1994). Furthermore, biological relatives of schizophrenic patients have been found to be more likely to display schizotypic psychopathology (Kendler, 1985) and to be more prone to affective disorders (Kendler, * Correspondence should be addressed to Dr Niall Duncan Galbraith, Research Fellow, Medical School, University of Warwick, Warwick Medical School, Gibbet Hill Campus, Coventry, CV4 7AL, UK (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)....
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