Interpersonal attributional biases in hallucinatory-prone individuals

Eva Levine, Heather Jonas, Mark R. Serper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Research in the area of auditory hallucinations has found that the occurrence of a hallucinatory experience is mediated, in part, by a bias towards making an external attribution for private events and experiences. The current study examined whether external attributional biases in hallucinators extend to their interpretation of social-cognitive interpersonal events. University students scoring high and low on the Launay-Slade Hallucination Scale (LSHS) were compared on self-report measures of locus-of-control (LOC) orientation, psychosis proneness and on the Phares [Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology 54 (1957) 339-342] "betting task" designed to encourage internal locus-of-control attributions. We predicted that high LSHS scorers would be less susceptible to a reinforcement paradigm designed to encourage internal locus-of-control judgments compared to low LSHS scorers. Consistent with our hypothesis, results revealed that hallucinatory predisposed individuals were less likely to show increased success expectancy following reinforcement and to decrease success expectancy following failure than were non-hallucinatory predisposed subjects. These findings suggest that hallucinatory-prone individuals not only make external attributions for private events and experiences, but are more likely to make external attributions to social-interpersonal events as well. We also found that subjects' severity of hallucinatory predisposition was significantly associated with their Chapman Magical Ideation and Perceptual Aberration scale scores. These results are consistent with past studies that suggest that hallucinatory subjects are more vulnerable to suggestion and support the notion that external loci of control over interpersonal experiences are associated with increased psychosis vulnerability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-28
Number of pages6
JournalSchizophrenia Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Attributional biases
  • Auditory hallucinations
  • LSHS


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