Context Processing Deficits: Schizotypal Traits and Depressive Traits
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Research into schizophrenia and depression indicates a wide range of cognitive and behavioural deficits (Cohen & Servan-Schreiber, 1992; Msetfi et al., 2009). There are mixed explanations in the literature as to how the cognitive and behavioural deficits are underpinned, and what mechanisms and biological factors are responsible for them. Previous research has suggested that context-processing deficits are one of the core cognitive deficits found in schizophrenia (Cohen & Servan-Schreiber, 1992). Furthermore, this has been supported by Servan-Schreiber et al. (1996) which found that context-processing deficits may be selectively impaired to schizophrenia. However, recent studies argue that context processing deficits are not exclusive to schizophrenia, and are found in other psychopathologies such as depression (Msetfi et al., 2009). To examine this, a sample of 44 undergraduate students were used to study the nature of context processing deficits in schizotypal traits and depressive traits. The Oxford-Liverpool Inventory of Feelings and Experiences (O-LIFE; Mason & Claridge, 2006) was used to determine schizotypal scores and the Beck’s Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II; Beck, Steer & Brown, 1996) was used to measure the depressive symptoms. Also, State Trait Personality Inventory (STPI; Spielberger, 1995) was used. The STPI is a self-report measure of different personality traits: anxiety, anger, depression and curiosity. Participants were asked to complete the AX-CPT along with the questionnaires (O-LIFE, BDI-II, STPI) in order to see if those with schizotypal and depressive traits presented deficits in representing or maintaining context. It was predicted that the BDI-II would be related to context processing deficits (Msetfi et al., 2009) but based on Holmes et al. (2005) and Barch et al. (2004) it was predicted that schizotypal traits would be related to context processing abnormalities. Findings showed that schizotypal traits and depressive traits/symptoms presented deficits in maintaining context but not representing context due to a factor or reasons. Implications have been highlighted and discussed, such as the lack of sensitivity the AX-CPT provides and the use of a non-clinical sample.
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