Schizotypal personality and vulnerability to involuntary autobiographical memories
Jones, V. and Steel, C. (2012) Schizotypal personality and vulnerability to involuntary autobiographical memories. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 43 (3). pp. 871-876. ISSN 0005-7916
To link to this article DOI: 10.1016/j.jbtep.2011.12.008
Background and objectives: Individuals who score high on positive schizotypy personality traits are vulnerable to more frequent trauma-related intrusive memories after a stressful event. This vulnerability may be the product of a low level of contextual integration of non-stressful material combined with a heightened sensitivity to a further reduction in contextual integration during a stressful event. The current study assessed whether high scoring schizotypes are vulnerable to frequent involuntary autobiographical memories (IAMs) of non-stressful material. Methods: A free-association word task was used. Participants completed three recorded trials which were then replayed to allow the identification of any associations where an involuntary autobiographical memory had come to mind. Self-report measures of schizotypy and anxiety were completed. Results: All participants retrieved at least one IAM from the three free-association word trials, with 70% experiencing two or more IAMs. Individuals scoring high in schizotypy reported more IAMs than those who scored low. Over 75% of the memories retrieved were neutral or positive in content. Limitations: The current study is an improvement on previous methodologies used to assess IAMs. However, bias due to retrospective recall remains a possibility. Conclusions: Individuals scoring high in schizotypy are vulnerable to an increased level of neutral intrusive memories which may be associated with a ‘baseline’ level of information-processing which is low in contextual integration.