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Self-Confidence and Paranoia: An Experimental Study Using an Immersive Virtual Reality Social Situation

Atherton, S; Antley, A; Evans, N; Cernis, E; Lister, R; Dunn, G; Slater, M; (2016) Self-Confidence and Paranoia: An Experimental Study Using an Immersive Virtual Reality Social Situation. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy , 44 (1) pp. 56-64. 10.1017/S1352465814000496. Green open access

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Abstract

Background: Paranoia may build directly upon negative thoughts about the self. There have been few direct experimental tests of this hypothesis. Aims: The aim of the study was to test the immediate effects of manipulating self-esteem in individuals vulnerable to paranoia. Method: A two condition cross-over experimental test was conducted. The participants were 26 males reporting paranoid ideation in the past month. Each participant experienced a neutral immersive virtual reality (VR) social environment twice. Before VR participants received a low self-confidence manipulation or a high self-confidence manipulation. The order of manipulation type was randomized. Paranoia about the VR avatars was assessed. Results: The low self-confidence manipulation, relative to the high self-confidence manipulation, led to significantly more negative social comparison in virtual reality and higher levels of paranoia. Conclusions: Level of self-confidence affects the occurrence of paranoia in vulnerable individuals. The clinical implication is that interventions designed to improve self-confidence may reduce persecutory ideation.

Type: Article
Title: Self-Confidence and Paranoia: An Experimental Study Using an Immersive Virtual Reality Social Situation
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1017/S1352465814000496
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1017/S1352465814000496
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the version of record. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Delusions, persecutory delusions, self-esteem
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Computer Science
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10073432
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