ISSN 2043-8087
Journal of Experimental Psychopathology
 Volume 3, Issue 4, 661-672, 2012
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Illusory Correlations in Paranoid Schizophrenia: Another cognitive bias relevant to delusions?

Katja Beer (a), Steffen Moritz (b) and Tania M. Lincoln (c)
(a) Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Charite, Universitatsmedizin Berlin, Germany
(b) Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany
(c) Department of Psychology, Hamburg University, Germany

Volume 3, Issue 4, 2012, Pages 661-672

Enhanced Illusionary Correlations (IC) may predispose towards delusion formation. The present study examined the frequency and symptomatic correlates of IC in a sample of 25 schizophrenia patients and 40 healthy controls, using emotional cues from different categories (fear, delusion-relevant, neutral), which were presented to the participants followed by happy, neutral or negative affect faces. IC were assessed after the presentation of the emotional cues by asking the participants to judge the frequency with which each cue had previously been shown with each facial expression. As expected, schizophrenia patients exhibited more IC than controls. However, contrary to expectation, this bias was not enhanced for delusion-relevant compared to neutral cues. Furthermore, the expected positive correlation of IC and positive symptoms could not be found. These results suggest the presence of a novel cognitive bias in schizophrenia, occurring irrespective of the stimulus category, which is not directly linked to positive symptoms.

Table of Contents
  Psychometric Assessment
  Stimulus Material
  Background Variables
  Illusory Correlations
  Correlations with symptom severity
  Correlations with other measures

Correspondence to
Tania Lincoln, Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Hamburg University, Von-Melle-Park 5, D-20146 Hamburg, Germany.

Schizophrenia, Psychosis, Illusory Correlations, Cognitive Biases, Delusions

Received 26 Dec 2010; Revised 8 Feb 2012; Accepted 8 Feb 2012; In Press 23 Sep 2012

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