Cognitive Gain or Handicap: Magical Ideation and Self-Absorption in Clinical and Non-clinical Participants

Background: This study aimed to examine magical ideation and absorption traits across non-clinical and clinical groups to determine their potential adaptive and maladaptive functions.

Method: We enrolled 760 healthy participants from neighboring communities (female = 53.2%). Moreover, we recruited 318 patients (female = 66.5%), which included 25, 183, and 110 patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders, anxiety disorders, and mood disorders, respectively. Potentially adaptive and maladaptive sociocognitive functions were measured to determine the role of magical ideation and self-absorption in patients with psychiatric disorders.

Results: The degree of magical ideation and absorption gradually increased in the following order: anxiety disorders, mood disorders, and schizophrenia spectrum disorders. Furthermore, enhanced self-absorption-related enhanced consciousness traits were essential indicators of the presence of self-integration weakness in patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders.

Conclusion: Magical ideation and psychological absorption may be considered as mental model construction functions, which result in both gains and handicaps in social adaptation.

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