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Department of Cognitive Science

Cognitive Science Alumni

Emily Connaughton

Emily Connaughton

Thesis Details

The Capgras delusion: A cognitive neuropsychiatric approach.

Delusions are common in a number of organic conditions such as dementia, Huntington's disease, and multiple sclerosis, as well as in nearly 10% of cases of traumatic brain injury (TBI) (TBI figure Fujii & Ahmed, 2002). This project applies the Langdon & Coltheart (2000) two-factor explanatory framework to investigate cases of organic delusions, such as those occurring in TBI. According to this model, two distinct factors contribute, in combination, to the generation and adoption of a delusion. The first factor involves a cognitive abnormality or motivated attentional bias that explains the initial generation of an abnormal thought, the seed of the delusion. The second factor accounts for the uncritical acceptance, rather than rejection, of the implausible thought. Thus far published theoretical accounts have described factor two as "a breakdown of normal belief evaluation" (Langdon & Coltheart, 2000). Different types of cognitive abnormality or bias could assist in explaining the variations in delusional theme, while delusions of all kinds might reflect a common second factor. In this project, a series of in-depth single-case studies will be undertaken to identify the processes that contribute to the initial generation of the delusion. Another aim of this project is to characterize the second factor in more detail.

  • Type: Combined
  • Scholarship : MQRES
  • Supervisors : Associate Professor Robyn Langdon, Emeritus Professor Max Coltheart and Dr Nora Breen (Royal Prince Alfred Hospital)

Emily is also a current member of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders. For more information on Emily's research please visit their CCD profile.

Further Information


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