These early perceptual distortions included a heightened awareness of sound or color, uncertainty about the boundaries of one’s body, feeling that the world around them is tilting, and similar experiences.
“We discovered that people, who were free of psychotic illness at age 18, would show hallucination and delusion symptoms in mid-life if they showed many very subtle disturbances in their perception early on”, said Professor Mark F. Lenzenweger at Binghamton University.
They also found that anxiety and depression played no role in the development of psychotic symptoms in mid-life. The precise causes of illnesses such as schizophrenia are largely unknown, although genetics and brain-based factors are known to play an essential role.
These new findings point to a specific focus for future research to drill more deeply into the biological factors driving psychotic illness and real-world experiences in the form of perceptual disturbances.
Understanding the nature of such perceptual aberrations might provide more clues to the development of schizophrenia and other similar conditions.