Among the most consistently replicated findings in literature addressing the latent structure of psychopathology is evidence for a discrete latent class of individuals who are vulnerable to schizophrenia (schizotypes). Rawlings, Williams, Haslam, and Claridge (2008) challenge these findings by subjecting schizotypy scale scores to taxometric analysis, using a data simulation technique to accommodate variable skew. The authors conclude that schizotypy reflects a latent dimension, and that evidence for discrete latent structure from previous studies is likely an artifact of skewed variables. In this comment, we discuss (a) the philosophical implications of disconfirming well replicated findings in soft science with a single study, (b) important considerations when defining the schizotypy construct, (c) intricacies in executing and interpreting a taxometric analysis, and (d) problems with drawing strong conclusions from null results. Considerable evidence suggests that schizotypy is a discrete latent class, a conclusion that is unlikely the result of skewed variables.
- Philosophy of science