During classic conditioning, the processing of conditioned stimuli (CSs+) is enhanced relative to neutral stimuli (CSs-). In patients with psychotic disorders, CSs- become abnormally relevant relative to CSs+, which may lead to the formation of aberrant associations. In this study, we explored how schizotypal and affective personality traits are associated with salience processing in nonclinical individuals. We used aversive conditioning and personality questionnaires in 100 healthy volunteers. The CSs+ were colored circles predicting the unconditioned stimulus (US), which was a loud noise. Circles of another color were the CSs- predicting no US. Conditioning was measured with skin conductance responses (SCRs) and reaction time. Results revealed that higher reality distortion, introvertive anhedonia, and cyclothymic personality negatively correlated with SCRs and positively correlated with reaction time for CSs+, which indicates less efficient conditioning. After taking into account the covariance between these personality traits, only reality distortion and introvertive anhedonia remained significant for CS+ SCRs, and introvertive anhedonia remained significant for CS+ reaction time. Enhanced responses to CSs- were positively predicted only by reality distortion. These results suggest that salience-processing biases are related to schizotypal personality traits in healthy individuals, exhibiting a similar pattern to that observed in psychotic disorders.
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