Embrained drives to perform extraordinary roles predict schizotypal traits in the general population

NPJ Schizophr. 2016 Oct 12;2:16035. doi: 10.1038/npjschz.2016.35. eCollection 2016.


Some personal drives correspond to extraordinary social roles. Given that behavioral strategies associated with such drives may conflict with those associated with ordinary roles, they could cause behavioral disorganization. To test whether they do so independent of the factors responsible for full-blown schizotypy and schizophrenia, these drives were assessed in the general population. Two hundred and nine healthy volunteers were individually presented with hundreds of names of social roles in experimental psychology conditions. The task of the participant was to decide whether or not (s)he would consider performing the role at any moment of his/her life. Schizotypal traits were measured with the schizotypal personality questionnaire (SPQ), and delusion-like ideations were assessed by the Peters et al. Delusion Inventory. Demographics and social desirability were controlled for. Participants accepting a greater percentage of extraordinary roles had higher SPQ scores. Among the three factors of the SPQ, disorganization was the one best predicted by those percentages. This correlation (r=0.40, P=7.2E-09) was significantly greater (Fisher Z-transform, P=0.003) than the correlation between the percentages of ordinary roles accepted and the SPQ scores (r=0.145, P=0.044). Reaction times revealed no suboptimal cognitive functioning in high accepters of extraordinary roles and further strengthened the drive hypothesis. Their acceptances of roles were done faster and their rejections took longer than those of low accepters (P=5E-12). Culturally embrained drives to do extraordinary roles could thus be an independent factor of the symptoms measured in the normality to schizophrenia continuum.