Is loss aversion diminished in schizotypy and does emotional intelligence influence this relationship?
Levings, Charlotte Maree
Evidence suggests that loss aversion is absent in individuals with schizophrenia. This absence may be explained by a schizophrenia-related deficit in emotion processing. The objective of the current study was to determine whether loss aversion is similarly affected in individuals at increased risk of schizophrenia, and whether this relationship is influenced by emotional intelligence. The primary hypotheses were that loss aversion is reduced in individuals with high schizotypy and that emotional intelligence moderates this relationship. In Phase 1 of the study, undergraduates completed a risky-choice loss aversion task and the Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire, which yielded indices of cognitive-perceptual, interpersonal, and disorganised features of schizotypy. In Phase 2, a subset of Phase 1 participants were called back to complete an emotional intelligence questionnaire and a riskless-choice loss aversion task. Consistent with expectations, loss aversion (risky choice only) was reduced in individuals with high schizotypy. However, lower loss aversion was associated with disorganised features, whereas higher loss aversion was associated with interpersonal features. Contrary to expectations, emotional intelligence did not predict loss aversion in riskless- or risky-choice tasks. Moreover, interpersonal features of schizotypy were associated with high emotional intelligence. There was no evidence that emotional intelligence moderated the relationship between schizotypy and loss aversion. Based on the present findings, diminished loss aversion in risky choices may have some utility as an objective measure of risk for schizophrenia. No clear assumptions can be made in regard to the relationship between loss aversion in riskless choice and emotional intelligence in schizotypy at this time. However, future research addressing the current methodological limitations is likely to bring clarity to these remaining questions.
Advisor: Linscott, Richard
Degree Name: Master of Science
Degree Discipline: Psychology
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: Schizotypy; Schizophrenia; Loss Aversion; Emotional Intelligence
Research Type: Thesis