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Psychology Assignment Question
The aim of the assignment is to learn about some of the principles of conducting psychopathology research. Specifically, you will have the opportunity to learn about the administration of some frequently used assessment tools used in psychopathology research and how to interpret the data and prepare a practical report based on the findings. This report should also serve as excellent preparation for the thesis component of your degree in fourth year, should you decide to do this.
In the first tutorial (Week 2), you will be told how to access a number of self-report measures that will include questions about social cognitive function, schizotypal personality and mental health. Data will then be provided in a form that should be interpreted, and form the basis of your research report.
What is your research report about?
Schizotypy and social cognitive function.
Schizotypy refers to traits that are similar to the symptoms of schizophrenia, but present in diminished form. Since research involving participants with schizophrenia is often subject to the confounding influence of variables such as medication, hospitalisation, and illness duration, the study of individuals with schizotypal traits enables researchers to study specific aspects of schizophrenia without the influence of such conceptual and methodological problems.
Social cognition refers to the means by which we perceive, interpret, and process social information about ourselves and others. Social cognitive skills are therefore critical for successful communication and, consequently, social function and wellbeing. As detailed in a recent review (Henry et al., 2016), there are four core social cognitive domains: theory of mind, affective empathy, social perception, and social behaviour.
The aims of your research report are:
- To explore the relationship between schizotypy and social cognition in a non-clinical sample.
- To discuss how the results from your research data compare with studies which have focused on social cognitive function in participants with schizophrenia.
To complete this research report, you will be given data from 238 non-clinical research participants who have completed the following measures:
The Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire (SPQ; Raine, 1991), a self-report questionnaire that provides an overall measure of individual differences in schizotypal personality characteristics.
The revised version of the Reading the Mind in the Eyes test (RMET, Baron-Cohen, Wheelwright, Hill, Raste & Plumb, 2001), a behavioural measure that provides an index of theory of mind (the capacity to understand others’ mental states, and to appreciate that these may differ from our own).
The Empathy Quotient (Baron-Cohen & Wheelwright, 2004), a self–report questionnaire which measures empathy (one’s emotional response to the perceived situations of others).
The Social Functioning Scale (SFS; Birchwood, Smith, Cochrane, Wetton & Copestake, 1990), a self-report measure that assesses seven distinct but related facets of social behaviour.
The Hospital Anxiety Depression Scale (HADS; Zigmond & Snaith, 1983), a self-report measure that was developed to provide a brief means of identifying and measuring severity of depression and anxiety.
Psychology Assignment Solution
Schizotypy refers to traits that are similar to the symptoms of schizophrenia. However, the severity of the symptoms is much less than schizophrenia. Studies with schizophrenic patients have indicated that such individuals are often subjected to the confounding effects of medication, hospitalization, comorbid depression, and illness duration(Sham et al., 2000). Hence, the study of schizotypal traits would enable researchers to study specific aspects of schizophrenia or the risk factors that predispose one to such disorders. Moreover, a study of schizotypal traits would help to explore the different aspects of schizophrenia without the influence of the confounding variables. On the other hand, social cognition refers to the behavioural actions that help an individual to predict, perceive, interpret and process social information about them and people who fall under the purview of their social environment. Social cognitive skills are critical for successful communication, social functioning and overall well-being of an individual. Social cognition is defined by four domains. These four domains include the theory of mind, affective empathy, social perception and social behaviour.
Purpose of the Study
The present study explored the correlation between Schizotypy and social cognitive traits in a non-clinical sample. The present study would help to diagnose or reduce the risk of schizophrenia across at-risk individuals. Moreover, the study would also be beneficial to predict the social interactions of an individual, irrespective of the presence or absence of schizophrenia. Hence, the present study would aid psychologists and behavioural scientists’ to screen and modify the prevalence of schizophrenia and allied psychopathic disorders.
Research Questions and Logic
The present study explored the primary research question and three secondary research questions. The secondary questions supplemented the theme of the primary research question and helped to address the main theme of this research. The primary question that was explored in this research was: Whether there is a significant correlation between Schizotypy and social cognitive traits across individuals who are not affected by schizophrenia or other psychopathic disorders? The secondary research questions that were explored in this research were:
Primary research question:
Whether Schizotypy is significantly correlated with social cognition level in non-clinical individuals?
The primary research question explored whether Schizotypy influences social cognition levels.