Hypersensitivity to threat in paranoid personality

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Jeffrey Allen West (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Ira D. Turkat

Abstract: Three groups of detoxified substance abuse inpatients, characterized by DSM-III-R criteria as Paranoid or Antisocial Personality Disorder, or no personality disorder, were compared in responses to six variations of the Stroop color-naming task designed to assess hypothesized attentional and discriminative aspects of paranoid hypersensitivity by incorporating threat and five types of non-threat control words as stimuli. Results supported experimental predictions that Paranoid Personality Disorder subjects would show greater differential increases in color-naming times on the Stroop task involving social threat words, relative to performance on tasks using matched non-threatening stimuli. This specific interference effect was not evidenced in the reponses of the non-paranoid groups. Comparison of performance on a subsequent recognition task indicated that Paranoid Personality Disorder subjects showed significant differences in ability to recognize previously-seen threat versus non-threat words, relative to remaining subjects. Signal detection analysis of results indicated that the Paranoid group demonstrated significantly reduced ability to discriminate among threat words, whereas non-paranoid comparison subjects tended to show maximum discriminability indices with threat-related material. These findings have implications for current formulations of paranoid disorders and personality.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 1988
Threat (Psychology)
Antisocial personality disorders

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