Magical ideation, schizotypy and the impact of emotions

Nicole Karcher, Glenn Shean

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Research indicates that emotions can interfere with basic cognitive functions such as attention and memory, and that schizotypal traits may be related to vulnerability to such interference, The schizotypal trait magical ideation, expressed as illogicality and tendencies to endorse peculiar or eccentric beliefs, has been reported to be related to impairments in social cognitive functioning as well risk for psychosis. This study examined the impact of emotionally arousing films on heart rate activity, affect ratings, and working memory. Participants were university students. Results indicated that high magical ideation scores were associated with impairments in short-term memory, higher post-film affect ratings, decreased clarity of affect awareness, and increased heart rate in response to emotionally arousing films. These results suggest that magical ideation may be an indicator of lower thresholds for arousal and increased vulnerability to disruption of cognitive processes by situations that elicit strong emotions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-40
Number of pages5
JournalPsychiatry Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - May 15 2012


  • Arousal
  • Emotions
  • Magical ideation
  • Schizotypy
  • Short-term memory


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