Cognitive theories hold that biased attention to threat plays a prominent role in the development and maintenance of anxiety disorders. In support of this view, attention training has been shown to affect emotional reactivity. An important limitation of most attention training studies is that they almost exclusively rely on self-report measures to assess changes in fear. In the present study, we trained attention towards or away from spiders. We assessed not only self-reported spider fear, but also implicit spider associations, physiological, and behavioural measures of spider fear. Although we successfully changed the attentional processing of spiders, attention training had no effect on any of the outcome variables. These results indicate that changes in attentional bias are not necessarily associated with changes in fear, suggesting that attention training may be unsuitable as a clinical intervention for spider fear.
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jun 2011|