ISSN 2043-8087
Journal of Experimental Psychopathology
 Volume 3, Issue 4, 514-536, 2012
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Biased Cognition in Psychosis

George Savulich, Sukhwinder Shergill, Jenny Yiend
Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London

Volume 3, Issue 4, 2012, Pages 514-536

The cognitive biases associated with affective disorders have been well documented and provide extensive evidence of selective abnormalities in information processing of pathology congruent information. However in psychosis, research to date has been narrower. There is ample evidence of a 'jumping to conclusions' reasoning bias but relatively little work on pathology congruent effects on cognitive processes such as attention and interpretation, which may be the most aetiologically important biases. In contrast in emotional disorders, such as anxiety and depression, the selective processing of pathology congruent information is now clearly implicated in the cause and maintenance of the psychopathology. In this review we focus specifically on paranoia and paranoid psychosis and ask how strongly does the evidence to date support a causal or maintaining role for belief congruent information processing biases? We review the literature across three cognitive domains: attention, reasoning, and interpretation. The evidence suggests that paranoia and paranoid psychosis is associated with selective avoidance of threat, generally reduced 'data gathering' and negative interpretations of hallucinations that elicit distress. To date there is little evidence specifically examining selective information processing biases of the sort that might support or exacerbate the paranoid beliefs themselves. Given the potential aetiological importance of these belief congruent biases, we call for further research to investigate pathology congruent information processing in paranoia and paranoid psychosis.

Table of Contents
Pathology Congruent Information-Processing Biases
Biased Attention
Biased Reasoning
Biased Interpretation
Modification of Selective Processing Biases
Cognitive Bias Modification
Metacognitive Training

Correspondence to
George Savulich, Department of Psychosis Studies, PO 63, Institute of Psychiatry, De Crespigny Park, London, UK, SE5 8AF.

psychosis, information-processing, cognitive bias, attention, jumping to conclusions, delusion, interpretation, auditory hallucination, training

Received 20 Nov 2010; Revised 17 Mar 2011; Accepted 21 Sep 2011; In Press 23 Apr 2012

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