Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



Extant literature indicates that emotional deficits, such as impaired emotion expression/experience, are prominent in schizophrenia-spectrum psychopathology and linked with poorer functional (e.g. social) outcomes. Interestingly, individuals exhibiting schizotypy, an underlying personality organization that confers a vulnerability to developing schizophrenia, report more abnormalities in emotion experience compared to healthy controls and individuals with schizophrenia, a phenomenon termed the “schizophrenia-spectrum emotion paradox.” To aid in the clarification of emotional abnormalities and explore the dynamic nature of emotion experience in individuals with schizotypy, the present study enrolled 93 college-aged individuals to examine positive emotion regulation through the use of social capitalization. In social capitalization, an individual shares a positive life event with another person and the response/reaction that follows has the most benefit for upregulating positive emotions. Participants were asked to complete a social capitalization task in the laboratory as well as complete seven days of ecological momentary assessment tracking social capitalization attempts in daily life. The results indicated that social capitalization did not increase rating of event positivity, positive affect, or decrease negative affect more so than writing about an event in the laboratory. Results from mobile data collection portion of the study indicated significant relationships between affect and social capitalization, as well as affect and schizotypy, but no interaction between the two. Overall successful social capitalization was largely unrelated to schizotypy or it’s dimensions, indicating that social capitalization likely operates similarly across degree of schizotypy. Future research would benefit from exploring other elements, such as social anxiety, trust, or familiarity with the listener to disentangle aspects of the dyad relationship that would confer the most benefit following a social capitalization attempt.



Committee Chair

Cohen, Alex S.