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The impact of negative affect on reality discrimination.

Smailes, D. and Meins, E. and Fernyhough, C. (2014) 'The impact of negative affect on reality discrimination.', Journal of behavior therapy and experimental psychiatry., 45 (3). pp. 389-395.


Background and objectives: People who experience auditory hallucinations tend to show weak reality discrimination skills, so that they misattribute internal, self-generated events to an external, non-self source. We examined whether inducing negative affect in healthy young adults would increase their tendency to make external misattributions on a reality discrimination task. Methods: Participants (N = 54) received one of three mood inductions (one positive, two negative) and then performed an auditory signal detection task to assess reality discrimination. Results: Participants who received either of the two negative inductions made more false alarms, but not more hits, than participants who received the neutral induction, indicating that negative affect makes participants more likely to misattribute internal, self-generated events to an external, non-self source. Limitations: These findings are drawn from an analogue sample, and research that examines whether negative affect also impairs reality discrimination in patients who experience auditory hallucinations is required. Conclusions: These findings show that negative affect disrupts reality discrimination and suggest one way in which negative affect may lead to hallucinatory experiences.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Reality discrimination, Signal detection, Self-monitoring, Hallucinations, Negative affect.
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Publisher statement:NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental, 45, 3, 2014, 10.1016/j.jbtep.2014.04.001.
Date accepted:02 April 2014
Date deposited:15 May 2014
Date of first online publication:13 April 2014
Date first made open access:No date available

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