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Br J Clin Psychol. 1998 Sep;37 ( Pt 3):285-302.

Reasoning biases in delusion-prone individuals.

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  • 1Department of Psychological Medicine, Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London, UK.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

The objective was to test whether individuals high in delusional ideation exhibit a reasoning bias on tasks involving hypothesis testing and probability judgments. On the basis of previous findings (e.g. Garety, Hemsley & Wessely, 1991), it was predicted that individuals high in delusional ideation would exhibit a 'jump-to-conclusions' style of reasoning and would be less sensitive to the effects of random variation, in comparison to individuals low in delusional ideation.

DESIGN:

A non-randomized matched groups design was employed enabling the performance of the delusion prone individuals to be compared to that of a control group.

METHOD:

Forty individuals, selected from the normal population, were divided into groups high and low in delusional ideation, according to their scores on the Peters et al. Delusions Inventory (Peters, Day & Garety, 1996), and were compared on two tasks involving probability judgment and two tasks involving hypothesis testing.

RESULTS:

Although no significant differences were found on tasks involving hypothesis testing and the aggregation of probabilistic information, it was found that individuals high in delusional ideation had a 'jump-to-conclusions' style of data gathering and were less sensitive to the effects of random variation, in comparison to individuals low in delusional ideation.

CONCLUSIONS:

In conclusion, although individuals high in delusional ideation were not found to have a general reasoning bias, some evidence of a more specific bias was found. It is thought that these aberrations may play some role in delusion formation in schizophrenia and paranoia.

PMID:
9784884
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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