MEB Seminar: Dr Angelica Ronald
Title: Psychotic experiences in teenagers: part of the turbulence of typical adolescence, or harbingers of mental health conditions?
Speaker: Dr Angelica Ronald, Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development. Department of Psychological Sciences Birkbeck, University of London
Abstract: As far back as Plato, the link between reality and our cognitive interpretations has fascinated us. Psychotic experiences, such as paranoia and hallucinations, occur when thoughts and perceptions become detached from reality, or when normal mental functions are lost. Psychotic experiences are common, though this is not generally recognized, and they show considerable differences in severity between individuals. Psychotic experiences are particularly prevalent in adolescence, which is just prior to a peak time of onset of psychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia and major depression. Psychotic experiences are risk factors for a range of psychiatric conditions, yet they can also be transitory. My talk will present basic empirical research from my group and others on the psychometric basis, and genetic and environmental causes of psychotic experiences in adolescence. I will report results using both new and traditional quantitative genetic techniques, including twin analyses, liability threshold models, GREML, polygenic risk score analyses and genome-wide association analyses. Discussion will focus on psychotic experiences both as stigmatized yet normative aspects of our mental lives, as well as their potential utility in adolescence as red flags for later mental health conditions.Contact person: Paul Lichtenstein