Abstract

Cognitive models of psychosis posit that reasoning biases are an important mechanism contributing to the formation of psychotic symptoms, in part through transforming anomalous experiences of aberrant salience into frank psychotic symptoms. This study aimed to investigate the interplay of liberal acceptance (LA) bias, which is a specific type of reasoning bias, and momentary aberrant salience in the development of paranoid and psychotic experiences in daily life in first-episode psychosis patients (FEP), at-risk mental state participants (ARMS), and controls. We used a novel experimental Experience Sampling Methodology (eESM) task for measuring LA bias (ie, decisions based on low probability estimates) and ESM measures of momentary aberrant salience and paranoid and psychotic experiences in 51 FEP, 46 ARMS, and 53 controls. We found evidence that LA bias was more likely to occur in FEP than in controls. Further, LA bias was associated with psychotic and paranoid experiences (all P < .007) and modified the association between momentary aberrant salience and psychotic experiences (χ2(df) = 7.4(2), P = .025) in ARMS, such that momentary salience was associated with more intense psychotic experiences in the presence of LA bias in ARMS, but not in FEP and controls. Our findings suggest that LA bias may be central for anomalous experiences such as momentary aberrant salience to increase intensity of psychotic experiences in at-risk individuals. Further, LA bias appears to be more likely to be present, but not directly linked to current intensity of psychotic experiences, in treated FEP. Novel eESM tasks open new avenues for targeting psychological processes under real-world conditions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSchizophrenia Bulletin
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Sept 2018

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