Background. At the beginning of 20thcentury, the phenomenon of oddity began to be studied. It was defined as a set of characteristics responsible for an individual giving the impression of being unusual, odd, and peculiar. Later, psychiatrists integrated oddity into the concept of schizotypy. Yet, while considered a part of the schizotypy construct, oddity has remained singular and maintained its status as an independent dimension.
Objective.The present article discusses oddity as a set of particular clinical traits that can be evaluated both by self-report measures and clinical assessment. We set out to investigate the oddity phenomena as manifested in a clinical sample, in order to delineate key features that constitute this concept.
Design. Seventy-one patients were selected according to a specific set of criteria and subjected to a set of self-report measures (the Schizotypal Personality Questionnaire and the Adult Personality Traits Questionnaire), a clinical interview, and a pathopsychological experiment. A number of cognitive, behavioral, and emotional characteristics were analyzed. An intra-group comparison was carried out in order to clarify the potential differences between the self-reported and clinically assessed phenomenon of oddity.
Results. The study’s first finding was that the SPQ-74 does not identify odd personalities in the general population, as reflected in the fact that the sample’s average scores proved to be low. Secondly, restricted emotionality and a deficit in social interactions proved to be the prevalent characteristics of the sample of “odd” individuals. Furthermore, a set of certain speech peculiarities (word coinage, bizarrerie, etc.) and thinking impairments of various types (distortion of abstraction level and motivational deficit) emerged as prominent characteristics in the majority of subjects. Finally, it was determined that clinical assessment allows for a more comprehensive evaluation of the psychology of odd personalities than self-report measures, due to a number of the personality, temperamental, and cognitive characteristics that the latter tend to exhibit.
Conclusion. “Odd” individuals can be characterized by a number of cognitive, emotional, and behavioral features independent of social perception and relevant to clinical practice; they can be captured more successfully by the application of qualitative methods. Further research is needed to elaborate this set of traits and test this hypothesis on new samples.
Keywords: oddity; schizotypy; schizophrenia-spectrum disorders; peculiar speech; Verschroben; psychological assessment