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Experimentally induced social threat increases paranoid thinking

Saalfeld, V; Ramadan, Z; Bell, V; Raihani, NJ; (2018) Experimentally induced social threat increases paranoid thinking. Royal Society Open Science , 5 (8) , Article 180569. 10.1098/rsos.180569. Green open access

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Abstract

The ability to attribute intentions to others is a hallmark of human social cognition but is altered in paranoia. Paranoia is the most common positive symptom of psychosis but is also present to varying degrees in the general population. Epidemiological models suggest that psychosis risk is associated with low social rank and minority status, but the causal effects of status and group affiliation on paranoid thinking remain unclear. We examined whether relative social status and perceived group affiliation, respectively, affect live paranoid thinking using two large-N (N = 2030), pre-registered experiments. Interacting with someone from a higher social rank or a political out-group led to an increase in paranoid attributions of harmful intent for ambiguous actions. Pre-existing paranoia predicted a general increase in harmful intent attribution, but there was no interaction with either type of social threat: highly paranoid people showed the same magnitude of increase as non-paranoid people, although from a higher baseline. We conclude social threat in the form of low social status and out-group status affects paranoid attributions, but ongoing paranoia represents a lowered threshold for detecting social threat rather than an impaired reactivity to it.

Type: Article
Title: Experimentally induced social threat increases paranoid thinking
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1098/rsos.180569
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsos.180569
Language: English
Additional information: © 2018 The Authors. Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.© 2018 The Authors. Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.
Keywords: Science & Technology, Multidisciplinary Sciences, Science & Technology - Other Topics, paranoia, social rank, group affiliation, social threat, game theory, PSYCHOTIC EXPERIENCES, GENERAL-POPULATION, MECHANICAL TURK, TRUST, DELUSIONS, IDEATION, HEALTH, METAANALYSIS, INDIVIDUALS, ADOLESCENCE
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Experimental Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10057526
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