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Paranoia and the social representation of others: a large-scale game theory approach

Raihani, NJ; Bell, V; (2017) Paranoia and the social representation of others: a large-scale game theory approach. Scientific Reports , 7 , Article 4544. 10.1038/s41598-017-04805-3. Green open access

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Abstract

Current definitions of paranoia include two key components: unfounded ideas of harm and the idea that the harm is intended by others. However, attributions of harmful intent have been poorly studied and mainly using artificial scenarios rather than participation in genuine social interactions where genuine resources are at stake. Using a large non-clinical population (N = 3229) recruited online, we asked people to complete a measure of paranoid ideation before playing a modified Dictator Game, where the ‘dictator’ can allocate money to the partner (the ‘receiver’). Participants were allocated to the role of receiver or of an uninvolved observer; and evaluated to what extent they believed dictator decisions were motivated by (i) self-interest or (ii) harmful intent. All participants attributed more harmful intent to unfair as opposed to fair dictators. Paranoia had a positive effect on harmful intent attribution, for both fair and unfair dictators. Paranoia did not interact with attributions of self-interest. Importantly, highly paranoid participants attributed equally strong harmful intent to the dictator in the observer role as in the receiver role. This challenges the assumption that paranoia is mainly due to an exaggerated sense of personalised threat and suggests instead that paranoia involves a negative social representations of others.

Type: Article
Title: Paranoia and the social representation of others: a large-scale game theory approach
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-04805-3
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-04805-3
Language: English
Additional information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Keywords: Science & Technology, Multidisciplinary Sciences, Science & Technology - Other Topics, CORE SCHEMA SCALES, PERSECUTORY DELUSIONS, DECISION-MAKING, MODEL SELECTION, MECHANICAL TURK, SCHIZOPHRENIA, PSYCHOSIS, INDIVIDUALS, REGRESSION, COGNITION
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/1565311
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