Title

Paranoid Thought and Schematic Processing

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1997

Abstract

Paranoid thought, often conceptualized as a self-focused style of thinking, was hypothesized to be related to the ex stence of a self-relevant cognitive structure. The present research sought to demonstrate such a structure, using an orienting-task procedure. Normal college subjects, differing on a dimension of paranoid thoughts and tendencies, responded to a series of paranoid, depressive, or neutral trait adjectives that were preceded by either semantic, self-referent or other-referent questions; they then engaged in a task of incidental recall for the trait terms. The major findings showed that subjects high in paranoid cognition, compared to those low on that dimension, endorsed paranoid traits as more descriptive of the self and demonstrated enhanced recall for yes-rated, self-referently processed, paranoid words. Those high in paranoid thought also tended to regard paranoid traits as more descriptive of others. The implications of this research for a social-cognitive model of paranoid behavior were discussed.

Journal

Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology

Volume

16

Issue

1

First Page

77

Last Page

94