Identifier

etd-11162015-131202

Degree

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Psychology

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

Individuals with schizophrenia exhibit a range of abnormalities in self-reported non-current experience of pleasure, but undisrupted current experience of pleasure. Several researchers have sought to address the mechanism of this deficit, yielding useful models of anhedonia. The accessibility model of emotional self-report suggests that deficits in hedonic response are due to differential activation of, and reliance upon, semantic and episodic memory systems. While this model has been proposed as an explanation of the deficits in hedonic response in schizophrenia, it has not been experimentally validated, and it remains to be seen whether the model will hold across the schizophrenia spectrum. The neurodevelopmental model of schizophrenia emphasizes the importance of understanding these deficits in individuals who are prone to psychosis, but may never manifest diagnosable disorder. The current study therefore sought to experimentally test the accessibility model of hedonic deficit in a sample of 92 individuals. Participants performed a task examining memory of emotionally valenced words designed to elicit semantically related emotional information. Overall, schizotypy was unrelated to abnormalities in memory performance in response to semantically congruent information. However, in disorganized schizotypy, semantic bias was a significant partial mediator of the relationship between schizotypy and current affective ratings. This result suggests the presence of abnormalities in semantic networks that contribute to differential current affective ratings to positively valenced stimuli.

Date

2015

Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Cohen, Alex

Included in

Psychology Commons

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