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It was predicted that the psychological differences between paranoids and nonparanoids would be parallelled by differences in psychophysiological responses to stimuli varying along both informational and motivational dimensions. Skin conductance and heart rate responses to stimuli in a guessing task were measured in a group of paranoid patients and compared with those form non-paranoid and non-patient controls. A group of nonschizophrenic patients on phenothiazine medication served as drug-matched controls. Skin conductance level, response frequency and amplitude data are reported; heart rate response changes were examined by means of times series analysis and reported as first and second deceleration and first and second acceleration components. It was predicted that paranoid patients would show a greater increase in skin conductance measures with cognitive demand, and an increase in acceleratory components of the heart rate to increases in motivational variables. The normal pattern of greater electrodermal responding to the negative stimuli than the positive, and greater heart rate acceleration to the positive stimuli but not the negative (Fowles, 1980) was predicted to be reversed in schizophrenic patients, and possibly more marked in paranoids. Cognitive manipulations showed the predicted increase in electrodermal and heart rate responding in normal controls. The paranoid subjects showed a similar increase as a function of task demands, but there was no significant difference between the other groups. Motivational manipulations produced increased skin conductance responding and increases in heart rate acceleration components in normal controls, this was not parallelled in the patient groups. All subject groups failed to show greater electrodermal activity to negative than to positive stimuli. Normal controls showed significant heart rate acceleration to positive as compared to negative stimuli, this pattern was reversed in paranoid patients

Topics: BF, RC0321, QP
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