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Monday, August 3 2020

Association between cognitive biases and psychotic-like experiences

MONTRÉAL, August 3, 2020 – New study conducted by a research team at CHU Sainte-Justine and University of Montreal has identified several major cognitive biases that are associated with psychotic-like experiences.

Dr. Patricia Conrod and her colleagues realized powerful meta-analyses of the association between the severity of some subclinical psychotic manifestations and the way of people process information in non-clinical samples.

According to the continuum hypothesis of psychosis, the psychotic phenotype is not confined to clinical psychosis. Indeed, subclinical manifestations are known as psychotic-like experiences (PLEs). PLEs are mild and transient and can be categorized as positive (PPLEs; e.g., perceptual abnormalities, delusional thoughts) or negative (NPLEs; e.g., social withdrawal, social anhedonia, avolition). Cognitive behavior models of psychopathology highlight the role played by cognition, and mainly cognitive biases in the onset and maintenance of psychotic symptoms. Cognitive biases refer to cognitive processes related to systematic errors in information processing.

The current meta-analysis including 27 studies found that higher levels of psychotic-like experiences were observed in healthy individuals with higher levels of cognitive biases. This study demonstrated the association between reasoning, attributional and attentional biases and both positive and negative psychotic like experiences. Thus, our findings may have potentially important implications for prevention and early cognitive interventions strategies for psychotic symptoms.

"The current research reveals that cognitive vulnerability to psychosis could be identified at an early period. This is highly encouraging from a prevention perspective. Since psychosis onset is typically during the beginning of adulthood, early identification of cognitive psychosis vulnerability gives clinicians a large window of time in which to intervene upon key cognitive processes using cognitive interventions that promotes positive reappraisal", point out Audrey Livet, Ph.D., the study's first author.

"Finally, as cognitive biases are recognized to play a crucial role in psychosis, self-report instruments assessing cognitive biases are easy to use and should be generalized in clinical practice as well as in research to target problematic cognitive biases highlighted in the current research. Further studies are required", adds Porfessor Conrod.

Dr. Patricia Conrod and her colleagues hope that this study helps to the development of prevention and intervention strategies targeting these cognitive biases in youths with psychotic-like experiences.

About this study

Livet, A., Navarri, X., Potvin, S., Conrod, P. (2020). Cognitive biases in individuals with psychotic-like experiences: A systematic review and a meta-analysis. Schizophrenia Research.

This work was supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Mental Health Commission of Canada.

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Updated on 8/3/2020
Created on 8/3/2020
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