Date Thesis Awarded
Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only
Bachelors of Science (BS)
Jennifer A. Stevens
Individuals with schizotypal personality disorder (SPD), or characteristics thereof, demonstrate elevated creativity, particularly visible in associative processing tasks. It is thought that an abnormal activation of semantic networks underlies the tendency for these individuals to form remote associations through loose and over-inclusive processing. Elevated scores of magical ideation (MI), which surveys beliefs in mysterious causation, have been specifically associated with similar thinking to individuals with SPD. Through a series of three experiments, the current study seeks to examine several associative trends with regards to judgment and response time. In Study 1, low and high MI participants completed an image-word pair association task, judging word pairs produced by other low and high MI participants. Neither convergence nor divergence of associative processes was observed, suggesting an individualized loosening of associative processing. High MI raters, however, did form associations faster and judged words as more likely descriptors of the images than low MI raters. In a follow-up forced-choice judgment task performed by randomly selected participants (Study 2), words that had been given by low MI participants were rated as more likely descriptors of the image than words given by high MI participants. Furthermore, word generation times (Study 3) by low and high MI participants suggest that the creative and loose processing of individuals with high MI scores may translate to verbal fluency tasks as well, as high MI participants generated words slightly faster than low MI participants. Cohesively, the experiments demonstrate the creative and loose associative processing of individuals with SPD by noting their unusual word generation, consistency in judging words as likely descriptors of the image, as well as quick association and word production times.
Roberts, Kathryn Tierney, "A Word Game: Trends of Associative Processing in Individuals with Schizotypal Characteristics" (2009). Undergraduate Honors Theses. William & Mary. Paper 308.
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