Assessing the construct validity of aberrant salience

  • Schmidt K
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Abstract

We sought to validate the psychometric properties of a recently developed paradigm that aims to measure salience attribution processes proposed to contribute to positive psychotic symptoms, the Salience Attribution Test (SAT). The "aberrant salience" measure from the SAT showed good face validity in previous results, with elevated scores both in high-schizotypy individuals, and in patients with schizophrenia suffering from delusions. Exploring the construct validity of salience attribution variables derived from the SAT is important, since other factors, including latent inhibition/learned irrelevance (LIrr), attention, probabilistic reward learning, sensitivity to probability, general cognitive ability and working memory could influence these measures. Fifty healthy participants completed schizotypy scales, the SAT, a LIrr task, and a number of other cognitive tasks tapping into potentially confounding processes. Behavioural measures of interest from each task were entered into a principal components analysis, which yielded a five-factor structure accounting for approximately 75% of the variance in behaviour. Implicit aberrant salience was found to load onto its own factor, which was associated with elevated "Introvertive Anhedonia" schizotypy, replicating our previous finding. LIrr loaded onto a separate factor, which also included implicit adaptive salience, but was not associated with schizotypy. Explicit adaptive and aberrant salience, along with a measure of probabilistic learning, loaded onto a further factor, though this also did not correlate with schizotypy. These results suggest that the measures of LIrr and implicit adaptive salience might be based on similar underlying processes, which are dissociable both from implicit aberrant salience and explicit measures of salience.

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Authors

  • Kristin Schmidt

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