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Title: The simulation heuristic and paranoia in a non-clinical sample
Author: Rose, Marianne R.
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University of London
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis investigates quality of reasoning within non-clinical paranoia and mental simulation of future paranoia themed events by use of a simulation task methodology. This task allows access into online thinking and reasoning and produces a measure of quality and ease in reasoning about paranoia themed material. Two alternative and contradictory hypotheses were tested. First, the expert hypothesis predicted that a proposed preoccupation with paranoid fears may result in an enhanced or expert level of reasoning on situations relating to personal fears within paranoia. Alternatively, due to reasoning biases and difficulty in constructing non-hostile explanations for events, performance may instead be reduced or restricted. Sixty-three participants, recruited from a student population, comprised three groups - a group scoring high in paranoia, a group scoring high for social anxiety, and a group scoring low in both areas. Participants were asked to simulate responses to incomplete paranoia and social anxiety themed scenarios, either personal or non- personal to individual concerns, by giving a step-by-step verbal response of what occurred in the missing part of the scenario. The results indicated that the paranoia group was neither expert nor restricted in their ability to reason through and simulate on a paranoia themed scenario relevant to personal concerns, and neither the expert nor restricted hypotheses could be supported. The social anxiety group, however, showed greater simulation ability on the social anxiety scenario, providing some support for the expert hypothesis. Additionally, simulation ability was related to increased subjective probability for the outcome of the situation, but only when the situation was personal or relevant to individual concerns. 3 - ) The non-clinical paranoia and social anxiety groups appeared to be acting as distinct groups. Simulation and expertise may be different for paranoia than for emotional disorders, and a preoccupation with paranoid fears may not necessarily be associated with enhanced ability in reasoning about relevant feared material. 4 ,
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available