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19. Aberrant salience, anomalous self-experiences, and psychotic-like experiences in daily life
Prior research suggests aberrant salience (incorrect assignment of importance to neutral stimuli) and anomalous self-experiences (disturbances in the subjective experience of the self) may be related to the development and maintenance of psychosis-spectrum symptoms. However, most prior research has examined these phenomena cross-sectionally, so it is unclear whether aberrant salience and anomalous self-experiences cause the unusual thoughts and experiences associated with psychosis. One method for providing information on causal mechanisms is to examine whether proposed causal variables temporally occur before the outcome variables. We designed an ecological momentary assessment study to record these experiences in the daily lives of nonclinical college students (n=246). Participants completed questionnaires of aberrant salience, anomalous self-experiences, and psychotic-like experiences on smartphones 6x/day for 7 days. Preliminary analyses found that lifetime reports of aberrant salience and anomalous self-experiences predicted reports of the same phenomena throughout the week (p<.05). Lifetime reports of aberrant salience and anomalous-self experiences also predicted psychotic-like experiences reported throughout the week (p<.05). Time-lagged analyses indicated that both aberrant salience and anomalous self-experiences reported at an earlier timepoint predict psychotic-like experiences at a later timepoint (p<.05). These preliminary results support existing social-cognitive theories of unusual thought and experience formation in psychosis.