What is attention bias variability? Examining the potential roles of attention control and response time variability in its relationship with anxiety

Patrick J.F. Clarke, Welber Marinovic, Jemma Todd, Julian Basanovic, Nigel T.M. Chen, Lies Notebaert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

The present study examined the underlying role of attention control and response time variability in explaining the relationship between anxiety and two commonly computed measures of attention bias variability: ‘moving average’ and ‘trial-level bias score’ measures. Participants (final n = 195) completed measures of anxiety symptomatology, antisaccade performance (attention control), a stand-alone measure of response-time variability, and a probe task measure of attention bias. Average bias and moving average bias variability measures both recorded significant, but low split-half reliability. Both attention bias variability measures and average attention bias were associated with anxiety, and attention control. Both attention bias variability measures correlated with response time variability. Neither attention bias variability measure correlated with average attention bias. Attention control was the single significant mediator of the relationship between anxiety and the trial-level bias score measure of attention bias variability. Neither response time variability nor attention control significantly mediated the relationship between anxiety and the moving average measure of attention bias variability. No evidence was found for the mediating role of response time variability. The present findings suggest that the relationships observed between anxiety and the trial-level bias score measure of attention bias variability in particular may be attributable to the over-arching role of attention control.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103751
JournalBehaviour Research and Therapy
Volume135
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020

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