Sunday, October 22, 2006

Schizotypal personality traits

"only 1% are diagnosed schizophrenic, and a similarly small percentage clinically manic depressive. Most of us just have a few quirks [60-70% of the adult population, according to one study!].
"Because several important research studies have now established a definite correlation between schizotypal personality and a propensity to have certain sorts of religious experience, and because, as we shall see, being somewhat schizotypal seems to confer a definite advantage on humanity, it is important that we recognise the features that define this state of mind. The degree of each depends upon where on the scale between normal and psychotic an individual is situated.
"According to most assessments, a schizotypal person exhibits the following nine personality traits to varying degrees:
"MAGICAL IDEATION, which means a tendency to think that one's thoughts have a physical power or that they can come true (if I wish bad luck on someone and it happens, thinking made it happen); also, a tendency to see significance in the correlation of supposedly unrelated events (like black cats and bad luck), or in mundane objects such as crystals, bones or anything that might serve as a talisman. Whether such magical ideation is considered schizotypal or normal is, of course, culture-dependent; in many societies such associations are regarded as mainstream.
"EASY DISTRACTION. The highly schizotypal poet Rilke expressed his easy distractibility as, 'If there is noise, I give myself up and am that noise.' A more seriously schizophrenic patient commented, 'I attend to everything at once and thus I do not attend to anything.'
"A TENDENCY TO FANTASIZE OR DAYDREAM, and sometimes not to know the difference between fantasy and reality.
"LOOSENESS OF THOUGHT, or 'thought slippage'. The individual's thoughts don't have the usual logical restrictions and boundaries, so he or she makes connections between things that others might not make.
"IMPULSIVE NON-CONFORMITY, in other words just acting on impulse; sometimes odd speech, odd behavior or eccentric dress."
(Only just Friday my 'interesting' and 'eccentric' manner of dress received yet another comment! lol)
"UNUSUAL EXPERIENCES, such as the visual and auditory kind associated with spiritual experiences...
"INTROVERSION: liking one's own company and preferring solitary pursuits.
"SOCIAL ANHEDONIA, also known as 'integrative pleasure deficiency': a diminished ability to enjoy social encounters, usually accompanied by a tendency to withdraw from them. Physical anhedonia is a diminished pleasure in sensory experience [e.g. taste of food?! ;P].
"AMBIVALENCE: not being able to make up one's mind, because the individual can see the value or possibility of both or many alternatives."
(from "the 'God Spot' in the Brain", Spiritual Intelligence: the Ultimate Intelligence, Dana Zohar and Ian Marshall, pp. 104-5).

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