Research Article: Can an experimental white noise task assess psychosis vulnerability in adult healthy controls?

Date Published: February 15, 2018

Publisher: Public Library of Science

Author(s): Maider Gonzalez de Artaza, Ana Catalan, Virxinia Angosto, Cristina Valverde, Amaia Bilbao, Jim van Os, Miguel Angel Gonzalez-Torres, Nori Takei.


This is an extension of a paper published earlier. We investigated the association between the tendency to detect speech illusion in random noise and levels of positive schizotypy in a sample of 185 adult healthy controls.

Subclinical positive, negative and depressive symptoms were assessed with the Community Assessment of Psychic Experiences (CAPE); positive and negative schizotypy was assessed with the Structured Interview for Schizotypy-Revised (SIS-R).

Speech illusions were associated with positive schizotypy (OR: 4.139, 95% CI: 1.074–15.938; p = 0.039) but not with negative schizotypy (OR: 1.151, 95% CI: 0.183–7.244; p = 0.881). However, the association of positive schizotypy with speech illusions was no longer significant after adjusting for age, sex and WAIS-III (OR: 2.577, 95% CI: 0.620–10.700; p = 0.192). Speech illusions were not associated with self-reported CAPE measures.

The association between schizotypy and the tendency to assign meaning in random noise in healthy controls may be mediated by cognitive ability and not constitute an independent trait.

Partial Text

The presence of psychotic features such as hallucinations, delusions or disorganized thinking is common in a wide range of mental disorders [1].

The degree to which WN reflects vulnerability for expression of psychosis in healthy participants, possible reflecting alterations in processing top-down or aberrant salience in healthy population, remains uncertain. No associations were apparent with self-reported measures of psychotic experiences. While WN was associated with interview-based measures of positive schizotypy, this appeared to be mediated to a large extent by other variables including cognitive ability.




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