Implicit Cognition and Suspicious Thoughts

Today’s post comes from our very own NUI Galway Ambassador, Meagan Lynch. Here, she describes her psychological research .

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While it may be considered uncommon, research has shown that suspicious thoughts can occur on a frequent basis. A recent study found that approximately 10–20% of the survey respondents held paranoid ideation with strong conviction and significant distress. Previous research in this area has pointed to Self-Esteem as a mitigating factor.
More recently however, researchers have begun to examine the effect of how we view ourselves (i.e.; self-schemas) as an attributing factor. At present, few studies have examined this concept and have also not included an examination of how we feel about other people (i.e.; schemas about others).
Psychological research has found that humans have little control over their thoughts or that they can be very well hidden. To address these issues studies have been examining our so called “implicit cognition”. Implicit cognition refers to a person’s unconscious influences such as knowledge or perception that can influence their behaviour without them realising.

This study will use a computer procedure known as the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP) to examine if schemas about the self and others contributes to the development of suspicious thoughts. Understanding more about the development of suspicious thoughts will be useful in examining theories of paranoia. It will also hopefully, help to normalise the experience of suspicious thoughts which as previously stated are far more common than we realise.

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Meagan Lynch

Meagan is a final year NUIG Psychology student, currently researching common suspicious thoughts and implicit attitudes. She aims to continue her studies in the area of behavioural psychology. She is Chair of NUIG's Psychological Society and representative for the PSI's Student Affairs Group. She is also part of the Student Talks team, acting as the Ambassador for NUI Galway.