Implicit and Explicit Social Cognition in Schizotypy
thesisposted on 01.12.2019, 00:00 authored by Savannah B Lokey
The way that individuals use words may convey information about their own social cognitive abilities—how people think of themselves, others, and their environment. Lexical analysis, or looking for patterns of word usage in transcribed text, is a fast and easy method for examining speech and the way in which people use particular words during speech has been shown to be associated with psychological functioning. However, few studies to date have used this method to understand social cognitive processes in individuals with varying levels of schizotypy. In this study, we examined how using words pertaining to social and emotional processes while providing a verbal autobiography, as well as performance on objective social cognitive tasks, are associated with schizotypy. More specifically, we used word use as a model for implicit, more spontaneous social cognition, and performance on an objective social cognitive task as a model for more explicit, deliberate processes, to examine social cognition from a dual-process theory framework. One hundred and one undergraduates enrolled in an introductory psychology course completed an autobiography task as well as a widely used performance-based test of social cognition. Results indicate that as a whole, neither linguistic variables nor objective social cognition task performance significantly predict schizotypy. However, greater use of negative emotional words is significantly associated with higher levels of schizotypy. This could suggest that individuals with schizotypy do not display deficits in implicit or explicit processes of social cognition. However, taken as a whole, these findings may indicate that objective measures of social cognition may not be sufficient to understanding these processes in schizotypy. Future research should employ additional subjective and self-report measures as well as more advanced automated text analysis tools to better understand social cognitive processes in this population.