Schizotypy is a term that indicates a greater disposition toward schizophrenia. Some argue that rather than being associated with psychosis per se, schizotypy is a personality continuum upon which all people vary. In this model, schizotypy is neutral in terms of mental health, but interacts with risk (e.g. stressful events) and protective variables (e.g. supportive social networks), leading to ‘healthy’ or ‘unhealthy’ outcomes, such as creativity or psychosis. Support for this model of schizotypy comes predominantly from research that has found an association between schizotypy or anomaly-proneness and well-being, and also by the high incidence of anomalous experiences among healthy adults.
Belief in paranormal phenomena has often been associated with schizotypy, as well as poor critical thinking, suggestibility and psychopathology in the research literature. Other work has found that belief in the paranormal has many dimensions, with some aspects relating to mental health and others relating to psychopathology. A profile has emerged of the “happy schizotype,” who appears to be prone to unusual experiences in the absence of psychopathology and evaluates these experiences as pleasant. Happy schizotypes also have higher levels of mental health and well-being than other schizotypal profiles.
A study presented at the 51st Annual Convention of the Parapsychological Association by Nicola Holt, Christine Simmonds-Moore, and Steve Moore, sought to detail the personality traits that characterize happy schizotypes. 183 participants completed a battery of questionnaires including measures of schizotypy, mental health, belief in the paranormal, creativity, and intelligence. The findings of these researchers supported the notion of a happy schizotype who believes in the paranormal and has subjective paranormal experiences in addition to relatively high well-being. But, further work is required to clearly distinguish the happy schizotype from another profile of paranormal believer associated with low levels of well-being and a schizotypal profile that inludes social withdrawal, impulsive behaviour and cognitive disorganization. Holt and her collaborators also extended previous work by providing evidence for the heightened creativity of happy schizoptypes. No significant differences were found between happy schizotypes and other schizotypal types in intelligence. The researchers suggest that future work should explore what types of anomalous experiences different schizotypes are prone to, and whether these experiences might differ in type or quality.
University de Rouen, France
University de Rouen, France
Holt, N. J., Simmonds-Moore, C. A., & Moore, S. L. (2008). Benign schizotypy: Investigating differences between clusters of schizotype on paranormal belief, creativity, intelligence and mental health. The Parapsychological Association 51st Annual Convention, Proceedings of Presented Papers, August 13-17, 2008,
, pp. 82-96. Winchester