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Publication Detail
Self-Confidence and Paranoia: An Experimental Study Using an Immersive Virtual Reality Social Situation.
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
    Journal Article
  • Authors:
    Atherton S, Antley A, Evans N, Cernis E, Lister R, Dunn G, Slater M, Freeman D
  • Publication date:
  • Pagination:
    56, 64
  • Journal:
    Behav Cogn Psychother
  • Volume:
  • Issue:
  • Status:
  • Country:
    United States
  • PII:
  • Language:
  • Keywords:
    Delusions, persecutory delusions, self-esteem, Adult, Delusions, Emotions, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Paranoid Disorders, Self Concept, Social Behavior, Social Environment, Surveys and Questionnaires, User-Computer Interface
BACKGROUND: Paranoia may build directly upon negative thoughts about the self. There have been few direct experimental tests of this hypothesis. AIMS: The aim of the study was to test the immediate effects of manipulating self-esteem in individuals vulnerable to paranoia. METHOD: A two condition cross-over experimental test was conducted. The participants were 26 males reporting paranoid ideation in the past month. Each participant experienced a neutral immersive virtual reality (VR) social environment twice. Before VR participants received a low self-confidence manipulation or a high self-confidence manipulation. The order of manipulation type was randomized. Paranoia about the VR avatars was assessed. RESULTS: The low self-confidence manipulation, relative to the high self-confidence manipulation, led to significantly more negative social comparison in virtual reality and higher levels of paranoia. CONCLUSIONS: Level of self-confidence affects the occurrence of paranoia in vulnerable individuals. The clinical implication is that interventions designed to improve self-confidence may reduce persecutory ideation.
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