Chapter_6._Self-ref_bias_paperF - 155 Chapter Six...

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Chapter Six Sub-clinical Delusional Ideation and a Self-Reference Bias in Everyday Reasoning. In Chapter 4, three experiments demonstrated that high PDI scorers were more prone than low PDI scorers to overlook the importance of sample size when making statistical judgements. There was some evidence that this tendency was heightened when threatening content was introduced. It was argued that this tendency to overlook sample size might underlie the previously observed data-gathering bias amongst the deluded. Given the consistent evidence of a delusional data-gathering bias on inductive reasoning problems (e.g. Dudley et al ., 1997b), Chapter 5 set out to examine whether a data-gathering bias might also be evident on a different type of reasoning task, namely syllogisms. Although there was again some evidence that threatening content disrupted performance in high PDI scorers, there was no indication that high PDI scorers were less likely to carry out the searches for counterexamples necessary for solving multiple-model syllogisms. It was argued that syllogisms may be too difficult to tease out the differences between groups – generally, even non-delusional people perform rather poorly on multiple-model syllogisms (e.g. Johnson-Laird & Byrne, 1991). Instead, it was suggested that data-gathering in everyday contexts might provide more scope for examining differences between high and low PDI groups. Additionally, in both Chapters 4 and 5 the manipulation of content as either threatening or non-threatening had yielded some group differences. However, in the literature on delusions, it has been shown that self-referent content, as well as threatening content, can disrupt delusional thinking (Dudley et al ., 1997b), and that delusional people have a tendency to focus on self-relevant stimuli (Blackwood et al ., 155
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2001). Therefore Chapter 6 aimed to extend the experiments from Chapters 4 and 5 by comparing high and low PDI scorers on everyday reasoning tasks and by manipulating content according to its relevance to the self. Introduction Sass and Parnas (2003), argue that schizophrenics experience an exaggerated self- consciousness or hyperreflexivity (Sass, 1992), which is characterised by an excessive tendency to focus awareness upon the self. They propose that this exaggerated self-focus can lead to a profound disorder of the self (ipseity disturbance), or to a disruption of what is otherwise our tacit sense of awareness. Actions and cognitions that may otherwise have been carried out tacitly gradually become the object of explicit awareness, which may in turn blur the boundaries between external, observable entities and those aspects of the self that were previously experienced implicitly. Sass and Parnas (2003) argue that this disorder of the self is what underpins schizophrenia. In the case of delusions, individuals may confuse their own thoughts as those of others, they may infer that their own actions are initiated by others, or they may develop solipsistic thinking leading to grandiose
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Chapter_6._Self-ref_bias_paperF - 155 Chapter Six...

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