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Reasoning bias, working memory performance and a transdiagnostic phenotype of affective disturbances and psychotic experiences in the general population

  • Ulrich Reininghaus (a1) (a2), Christian Rauschenberg (a1), Margreet ten Have (a3), Ron de Graaf (a3), Saskia van Dorsselaer (a3), Claudia J. P. Simons (a1) (a4), Nicole Gunther (a1) (a5), Lotta-Katrin Pries (a1), Sinan Guloksuz (a1) (a6), Rajiv Radhakrishnan (a6), Maarten Bak (a1) and Jim van Os (a1) (a7) (a8)...

The jumping to conclusions (JTC) reasoning bias and decreased working memory performance (WMP) are associated with psychosis, but associations with affective disturbances (i.e. depression, anxiety, mania) remain inconclusive. Recent findings also suggest a transdiagnostic phenotype of co-occurring affective disturbances and psychotic experiences (PEs). This study investigated whether JTC bias and decreased WMP are associated with co-occurring affective disturbances and PEs.


Data were derived from the second Netherlands Mental Health Survey and Incidence Study (NEMESIS-2). Trained interviewers administered the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI) at three time points in a general population sample (N = 4618). The beads and digit-span task were completed to assess JTC bias and WMP, respectively. CIDI was used to measure affective disturbances and an add-on instrument to measure PEs.


Compared to individuals with neither affective disturbances nor PEs, the JTC bias was more likely to occur in individuals with co-occurring affective disturbances and PEs [moderate psychosis (1–2 PEs): adjusted relative risk ratio (RRR) 1.17, 95% CI 0.98–1.41; and high psychosis (3 or more PEs or psychosis-related help-seeking behaviour): adjusted RRR 1.57, 95% CI 1.19–2.08], but not with affective disturbances and PEs alone, whereas decreased WMP was more likely in all groups. There was some evidence of a dose–response relationship, as JTC bias and decreased WMP were more likely in individuals with affective disturbances as the level of PEs increased or help-seeking behaviour was reported.


The findings suggest that JTC bias and decreased WMP may contribute to a transdiagnostic phenotype of co-occurring affective disturbances and PEs.

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Author for correspondence: Jim van Os, E-mail:
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