More than words? Hypomanic personality traits, visual imagery and verbal thought in young adults

Simon McCarthy-Jones*, Rebecca Knowles, Georgina Rowse

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)


The use of visual mental imagery has been proposed to be a risk factor for the development of bipolar disorder, due to its potential to amplify affective states. This study examined the relation between visual imagery (both trait usage and intrusive experiences of such imagery), intrusive verbal thought, and hypomania, as assessed by self-report questionnaires, in a sample of young adults (N= 219). Regression analyses found (after controlling for anxiety, depression, and positive and negative affect) that levels of intrusive visual imagery predicted levels of hypomania, but that neither trait use of visual imagery nor intrusive verbal thought did. These results were consistent with the proposal that being a 'visualiser', as opposed to a 'verbaliser', is a risk factor for bipolar disorder, with the caveat that it is specifically intrusive experiences of imagery, rather than the tendency to utilize imagery per se, that acts as a risk factor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1375-1381
Number of pages7
JournalConsciousness and cognition
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2012



  • Consciousness
  • Hypomania
  • Intrusions
  • Verbal though
  • Visual imagery

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