In line with the continuum view of psychosis, it has been found that some individuals have anomalous experiences without a ‘need for clinical care’. Appraisals of anomalous experiences have been shown to play a key role in determining this need. Recent studies have used experimental tasks that act as analogues of anomalous experiences, further demonstrating differences in appraisals between individuals with and without a need for care. Taking this further, two such tasks, the Cards and Telepath tasks, were administered to patients (16) and non-patients (16) with anomalous experiences, and controls (16), while scanning using functional magnetic resonance imaging. It was predicted that patients would appraise the tasks as more threatening than non-patients and controls, who would appraise them as non-threatening. It was also predicted that these differences would be mirrored at the neural level, with patients showing differential activity from non-patients and controls in regions relevant to decision-making and emotional significance. As predicted, patients showed significantly more threatening appraisals than non-patients and controls. Unexpectedly, non-patients had higher threatening appraisal scores than controls. At the neural level, the patient group showed differential activation in response to the cards and telepath tasks, relative to non-patient and control groups, primarily in frontal and parietal regions related to working memory and decision-making, but also subcortical regions important for emotional significance. Also as expected, non-patients and controls showed equivalent neural responses. The implications of these findings will be discussed.
Raphael recently completed his PhD at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College London. His research looks at cognitive and neural mechanisms underlying maladaptive appraisals in psychosis. He has completed a BSc in Psychology at the University of Kent, and an MSc in Psychological Research at Oxford University. He has previously worked as a clinical studies officer and an assistant psychologist. He is interested in science communication, occasionally blogging for the Mental Elf.
Dates & times
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|9 Feb 2016||6:00pm - 7:30pm|
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