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Automatic effects of illness schema activation on behavioral manifestations of illness.

Orbell, Sheina and Henderson, Caroline J (2016) 'Automatic effects of illness schema activation on behavioral manifestations of illness.' Health Psychology, 35 (10). pp. 1144-1153. ISSN 0278-6133

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Objective: Relatively little research has directly evaluated the schematic nature of illness representations proposed by the common sense model of illness. Four studies tested the hypothesis that illness schema activation leads directly and automatically to behavioral manifestations of illness. Method: Study 1 was a survey (N = 970) that evaluated the proposition that the mental representation of common cold symptom experience includes functional deviation from the usual prototypical self. Studies 2 and 3 were experiments that tested effects of cold schema activation using a subliminal priming paradigm on walking speed (Study 2, N = 53) and free recall in a memory task (Study 3, N = 30). Study 4 (N = 65) used a 2 (cold prime vs. control) × 2 (alternate self vs. control) experimental design to investigate attenuation of the effect of the cold prime on free recall. Results: Study 1 confirmed the multifactorial nature of functional self-deviations representing the common cold symptomology. Studies 2 and 3 showed that participants primed with the common cold schema walked more slowly and performed worse on a memory recall task relative to controls in whom the schema was not activated. These effects were automatic in the sense that participants were not aware of the prime or of this influence. In Study 4, priming an alternative self-identity overcame the deleterious effect of automatic common cold schema activation on free recall in a memory task. Conclusions: Subliminal activation of a schematic representation of illness automatically activates behavioral manifestations of illness.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: common sense model; automatic behavior; symptoms; schema; priming
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health
Faculty of Science and Health > Psychology, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 08 Jun 2016 11:54
Last Modified: 15 Jan 2022 00:29

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