2011 BPS Annual Conference
Conference Venue: Marriott Hotel, Glasgow
British Psychological Society
From: 04 May 2011
To: 06 May 2011
Psychosis-proneness and laterality: A myth of methodology? K. Schofield
University of Bristol
University of Bristol
Objectives: Schizotypy, or psychosis-proneness, refers to the extension of psychosis-like traits into the general population. It has been associated with attenuated expressions of many of the same neuropsychological abnormalities as schizophrenia, including atypical functional segregation of the left and right brain hemispheres (laterality). Previous studies present opposing findings regarding the relationship between schizotypy and laterality. We hypothesised that this inconsistency could result from the use of incompatible and ineffective methodologies in these studies, and designed a series of methodologically unique, highly controlled experiments to clarify the issue.
Design: A within-participants design compared the effects of using two common self-report measures of schizotypy, and three different measures of laterality. Using this framework, we drew on the findings of previous studies to analyse numerous potential moderating and confounding factors in assessing schizotypy and laterality.
Methods: An opportunity sample of participants mostly consisted of students from the University of Bristol. Each participant completed the O-LIFE and Chapman schizotypy scales, and lexical, face-processing, and spatial tasks.
Results: Findings indicated that either: (1) no relationship exists between schizotypy and laterality; or less likely (2) that a relationship does exist, but is both complex and variable, making it extremely difficult to assess by conventional methodology.
Conclusions: Our findings have crucial implications for: (a) our understanding of the neuropsychological relationship between schizotypy and schizophrenia, and hence our ability to accurately predict probability of transition to psychosis in high-risk populations; and (b) the (in)validity of the common methods used to study schizotypy and laterality, and schizotypy in general.
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