Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Individuals with schizotypal traits have demonstrated sub-clinical symptoms of psychosis (e.g. perceptual disturbances, self-reported social functioning impairment, self-reported memory problems, and delusions). However, the evidence has been mixed regarding what impairments exist, particularly with regards to social functioning domains. As schizotypy is posited to reflect an underlying vulnerability for development of clinical levels of psychosis/risk conversion, individuals with these traits are an important group to study in order to identify these vulnerabilities. Research has indicated that current measures of social functioning (whether they are localized objective measures of verbal and non-verbal communication or global self-report of functioning) are missing some of the key insights into susceptibility of impairments. While localized and specific measures of social functioning are highly related to schizophrenia, the measures tell us little about vulnerability for individuals with schizotypy. This project explored how a global assessment of social functioning that includes a more expansive assessment of engagement through non-verbal and verbal communication (related to social functioning) could potentially tell us more about how and where individuals with schizotypy demonstrate social dysfunction. Contrary to prediction, schizotypy scores were unrelated to global functioning scores. As predicted, local measures of functioning showed extremely minimal relationships to schizotypy scores, confirming the proposed theory that these measures do not identify discernible differences in schizotypy scores. Implications for future research and the subjective-objective dysjunction with relation to schizotypy are considered below.
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Auster, Tracey Lauren, "Social Functioning in Schizotypy: An Exploration of Communicative Effectiveness through Speech Analysis and Observer Rated Performance in a Socially Demanding Task" (2015). LSU Doctoral Dissertations. 2635.