Background: Theories of the development of psychotic symptoms have suggested that metacognitive beliefs might play a part. However, studies offering supporting evidence have failed to distinguish between metacognitive beliefs about the consequences of having certain thoughts, and metacognitive beliefs about one's own cognitive skills. Aims: To distinguish metacognitive beliefs and investigate the extent of their association with psychotic-like experiences. Method: Participants were 60 healthy adults recruited primarily from two university campuses. Three measures of metacognition were administered: (i) Metacognitions Questionnaire (MCQ-30); (ii) Metacognitive Assessment Inventory; and (iii) Koriat General Questions Test; and two schizotypy questionnaires: O-Life and SPQ-B and data were analysed using an exploratory principal components analysis of the metacognition measures. Results: Three principal components were identified: (i) Beliefs about thoughts; (ii) Cognitive confidence; and (iii) Beliefs about cognitive regulation. Only the “beliefs about thoughts” component was significantly associated with the “psychotic-like experiences” factor, extracted from the measures of schizotypy. Conclusions: The finding supports theories suggesting that psychotic symptoms may be caused in part by negative metacognitive beliefs about thoughts. However, metacognition is a complex construct that is currently poorly understood.
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