Hallucinations and inhibitory functioning in healthy young adults with high and low levels of hypomanic personality traits

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© 2015 © 2015 Taylor & Francis. Introduction. Hallucinations in schizophrenia and hallucination proneness in healthy young adults are associated with a common cognitive mechanism, namely impaired inhibitory control. Hallucinatory-like experiences also seem related to hypomanic symptoms in non-clinical participants; however, the mechanisms involved are unknown. We sought to examine self-reported hallucinatory/anomalous perceptual experiences in students selected for high versus low levels of hypomanic personality traits, and whether hypomania is characterised by deficient inhibitory control. Method. Undergraduate students with either high (n = 26) or low (n = 28) scores on the Hypomanic Personality Scale-Revised (HPS-20) were compared on: (1) the Launay Slade Hallucination Scale-Revised (LSHS-R), a measure of hallucination proneness, (2) the Cardiff Anomalous Perceptions Scale (CAPS) and (3) the Inhibition of Currently Irrelevant Memories (ICIM) task, an index of intentional inhibition. Results. The high HPS group had higher total scores, as well as higher frequency (on CAPS only), intrusiveness and distress (CAPS) scores compared to the low HPS group. They also produced significantly more false alarms on the second run of the ICIM task than the low hypomania traits group. Conclusions. Frequent, intrusive and distressing perceptual anomalies and proneness to hallucinations tend to occur in healthy individuals with hypomanic personality traits and may be associated with transient difficulties with inhibitory control. Inhibitory control may be a cognitive marker of vulnerability to hallucinations across diagnostic boundaries.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)254-269
JournalCognitive Neuropsychiatry
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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