Facilitating Episodic Simulation in Anxiety: Role of Sensory Scaffolding and Scenario Modality

Julie Ji, M. Joseph Meyer, Bethany Ann Teachman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Cognitive bias modification of interpretation style (CBM-I) is a family of cognitive training programs that seek to reduce anxious thinking by training people to assign relatively more positive meanings to ambiguous situations. CBM-I’s effects may be enhanced by encouraging more vivid imagery-based episodic simulation of events and by increasing engagement with the training materials. This study investigated the role of sensory scaffolding (whether pictures, or pictures + sound were added) and verbal scenario modality (whether scenarios were delivered visually or aurally) on episodic simulation (Vivid; Plausible; Changing Perspective ratings) and user engagement (Relatable, Comprehensible, Enjoyable ratings). Amazon Mechanical Turk workers (N = 187) with varied anxiety symptom severity read or listened to brief scenarios that varied by sensory scaffolding and verbal scenario modality. Results were somewhat mixed. Generally, picture scaffolding tended to facilitate both episodic simulation and user engagement (relative to no scaffolding), irrespective of scenario modality and anxiety level.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-111
Number of pages29
JournalInternational Journal of Cognitive Therapy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020


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