I spy with my little eye–the detection of intentional contingency in early psychosis.

A.-K.J. Fett, Clara Isabel González Berdugo, Esther Hanssen, Imke Jansen, Sukhi S. Shergill, L. Krabbendam

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Introduction: Paranoid delusions have been associated with a tendency to overattribute
intentionality and contingency to others’ actions and incidental events
in individuals with chronic psychosis. However, this hyper-associative perception
bias has not been investigated in the early illness stages of psychosis, during
which it may play a particularly crucial role in the formation of symptoms.
Method: We used an experimental paradigm with 20 short film clips of simple
animate and inanimate shapes that either moved in a contingent or noncontingent
manner to investigate the perception of contingency in 38 adolescents
with early psychosis and 93 healthy control adolescents. Participants rated the
contingency between the shapes’ movements on a scale from 0 to 10. The data
were analysed with multilevel regression analyses to account for repeated
measures within subjects.
Results: There were no significant differences between patients and controls; both
perceived the contingency of the shapes’ movements similarly across all conditions
and patients’ contingency perception was unrelated to their levels of paranoid
Conclusion: Contingency perception was unimpaired in patients with early
psychosis, suggesting that it might still be intact in the early illness stages. Future
studies should set out to determine whether the early illness stages could offer a
window for interventions that counteract the development of hyper-associative
perceptions of contingency.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)473 - 481
JournalCognitive Neuropsychiatry
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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