In a recent study, researchers from the University of Nottingham found a particular aspect of personality, termed Schizotypy, could change the signals of the brain.
This suggests some mental illnesses may be thought of as extreme variants of a normal personality.
Previous studies have shown that a healthy person with a highly schizotypal personality shares more ‘thinking patterns’ with a patient with schizophrenia.
In the current study, the team wanted to know if the brains of patients with schizophrenia are totally different from healthy people, or whether they overlap.
They used a brain imaging tool Magnetoencephalography (MEG) to measure volunteer’s brain waves while they moved their index finger.
In the past, the team had used the same technique and had found the brain response was reduced in people with schizophrenia.
They found patients’ symptoms are related to the brain responses. The more severe the patient’s symptoms, the more the response was reduced.
In the current study, the team found people who were highly schizotypal had a reduced brain response compared to those with less schizophrenia-like personalities.
This may suggest a similarity of brain activities between people with high schizotypy and people with schizophrenia.
These findings show a connection between normal personality and mental illness.
The researchers hope the findings could improve the way schizophrenia is characterized and treated.
They also hope their study could help stop the idea that people with serious mental problems are different from so-called “normal” people.
It is possible that some strategies people use to deal with the challenges in everyday life could also be used in dealing with the challenges in people with mental illness.
The lead author of the study is Dr. Benjamin Hunt.
The study is published in Schizophrenia Bulletin.
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