Most delusions have fantastic content which when activated operates as strong beliefs that shape interpretation of events and motivate behavior that is consistent with the extreme content.


  1. Bias: The delusions are characterized as are other strong beliefs by a powerful confirmation bias which includes consistent information and excludes inconsistent information. As a result, neither contradictory experience nor reasoning has an impact on the delusion. A possible additional reason might be the individual’s vested interest in maintaining the delusions.
  2. Another hypothesis is that the individuals are not motivated to make corrections and thus have deficits in deploying attention to a task.This hypothesis is consistent with the “jumping to conclusions bias” described by Garrety et al.
  3. Given the role of genetic vulnerability and environmental precipitating factors, it can be speculated that the delusions meet certain needs such as protection against interpersonal dangers or compensation for insults to the self-esteem: persecutory delusions or grandiose delusions. Other delusions may represent the translation of the needs for nurturance such as the delusion of being pregnant (particularly in males).
  4. Activation: It can alsobe speculated that the delusions are incorporated into schemas like any other strong belief. Their activation level can fluctuate from maximal to deactivation depending on whether they have been subjected to relevant stimuli.
  5. Based on clinical observation, it appears that if we can meet the individuals’ needs or counteract the fears through therapy, that the delusions may be diminished in activation to the point where they no longer pose a problem. Pinpointing the specific fear or low self-esteem can be facilitated by examining the content of the delusion which may reveal the hidden fear or need.