The effectiveness of touchscreen-based attentional bias modification to thin body stimuli on state rumination

Laura Dondzilo, Elizabeth Rieger, Rebecca Shao, Jason Bell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Ruminative thinking is considered a vulnerability factor for eating disorder symptomatology. Research suggests that attentional bias to body shape stimuli may serve to underpin this maladaptive form of emotion regulation. The current study aimed to determine the direct effect of attentional bias to thin-ideal bodies on state depressive rumination. Additionally, this study sought to evaluate the efficacy of attentional bias modification (ABM) utilising a touchscreen device. A well-established ABM protocol, the modified dot probe task, was used for both attentional assessment and training. Female undergraduate students (N = 110) completed an ABM session where attention was trained either towards, or away from, thin-ideal body images. Pre- and post-attentional training, participants completed the dot probe task, as well as a state measure of depressive rumination. Results revealed that the ABM training induced a greater attentional bias to thin-ideal bodies in the attend-thin training condition than in the avoid-thin training condition. Furthermore, induced attentional avoidance of thin-ideal bodies led to a significant reduction in state depressive rumination. The current findings suggest that touchscreen-based ABM is effective in modifying patterns of attentional bias and state depressive rumination.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCognition and Emotion
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Jan 2020


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