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Asymmetrical transfer effects of cognitive bias modification: Modifying attention to threat influences interpretation of emotional ambiguity, but not vice versa

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ABSTRACT

Background and objectives: It is well established that attention bias and interpretation bias each have a key role in the development and continuation of anxiety. How the biases may interact with one another in anxiety is, however, poorly understood. Using cognitive bias modification techniques, the present study examined whether training a more positive interpretation bias or attention bias resulted in transfer of effects to the untrained cognitive domain. Differences in anxiety reactivity to a real-world stressor were also assessed.

Methods: Ninety-seven first year undergraduates who had self-reported anxiety were allocated to one of four groups: attention bias training (n = 24), interpretation bias training (n = 26), control task training (n = 25) and no training (n = 22). Training was computer-based and comprised eight sessions over four weeks. Baseline and follow-up measures of attention and interpretation bias, anxiety and depression were taken.

Results: A significant reduction in threat-related attention bias and an increase in positive interpretation bias occurred in the attention bias training group. The interpretation bias training group did not exhibit a significant change in attention bias, only interpretation bias. The effect of attention bias training on interpretation bias was significant as compared with the two control groups. There were no effects on self-report measures.

Limitations: The extent to which interpretive training can modify attentional processing remains unclear.

Conclusions: Findings support the idea that attentional training might have broad cognitive consequences, impacting downstream on interpretive bias. However, they do not fully support a common mechanism hypothesis, as interpretive training did not impact on attentional bias.

No MeSH data available.


Mean attentional bias index at baseline and post-training (a more positive score indicates a more positive attentional bias). Error bar represent ± 1 standard error.
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fig1: Mean attentional bias index at baseline and post-training (a more positive score indicates a more positive attentional bias). Error bar represent ± 1 standard error.

Mentions: A one-way ANOVA confirmed there had been no significant differences between groups in baseline attention bias index, F (3, 90) = 1.01, p = 0.39; see Fig. 1. A mixed model ANOVA with time (baseline, post-training) as the within participants factor and group (CBM-A, CBM-I, CBM-placebo or no training) as the between subjects factor was conducted on the attentional bias index data. No main effect of time was found, F (1, 90) = 1.08, p = 0.30, ηp2 = 0.01. There was, however, a trend-level time by group interaction, F (3, 90) = 2.16, p = 0.099, ηp2 = 0.067. Because of our specific predictions that both attention bias training and interpretation bias training would influence attention bias, but that the control groups would not, we conducted paired sampled t-tests within each group to examine changes in attention bias scores from baseline to post-training. The only significant finding was of CBM-A, t (21) = −2.08, p = 0.025, (one-tailed), r = 0.42, indicating that as predicted the attentional training resulted in a significant reduction in threat-related attention bias from pre-training to post-training. Contrary to prediction, the CBM-I group did not generate a significant reduction in attention bias, t (25) = 0.44, p = 0.34 (one-tailed), and any alterations in bias in both control groups were similarly non-significant, ts < 1 (see Fig. 1)2.


Asymmetrical transfer effects of cognitive bias modification: Modifying attention to threat influences interpretation of emotional ambiguity, but not vice versa
Mean attentional bias index at baseline and post-training (a more positive score indicates a more positive attentional bias). Error bar represent ± 1 standard error.
© Copyright Policy - CC BY
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC5134930&req=5

fig1: Mean attentional bias index at baseline and post-training (a more positive score indicates a more positive attentional bias). Error bar represent ± 1 standard error.
Mentions: A one-way ANOVA confirmed there had been no significant differences between groups in baseline attention bias index, F (3, 90) = 1.01, p = 0.39; see Fig. 1. A mixed model ANOVA with time (baseline, post-training) as the within participants factor and group (CBM-A, CBM-I, CBM-placebo or no training) as the between subjects factor was conducted on the attentional bias index data. No main effect of time was found, F (1, 90) = 1.08, p = 0.30, ηp2 = 0.01. There was, however, a trend-level time by group interaction, F (3, 90) = 2.16, p = 0.099, ηp2 = 0.067. Because of our specific predictions that both attention bias training and interpretation bias training would influence attention bias, but that the control groups would not, we conducted paired sampled t-tests within each group to examine changes in attention bias scores from baseline to post-training. The only significant finding was of CBM-A, t (21) = −2.08, p = 0.025, (one-tailed), r = 0.42, indicating that as predicted the attentional training resulted in a significant reduction in threat-related attention bias from pre-training to post-training. Contrary to prediction, the CBM-I group did not generate a significant reduction in attention bias, t (25) = 0.44, p = 0.34 (one-tailed), and any alterations in bias in both control groups were similarly non-significant, ts < 1 (see Fig. 1)2.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

Background and objectives: It is well established that attention bias and interpretation bias each have a key role in the development and continuation of anxiety. How the biases may interact with one another in anxiety is, however, poorly understood. Using cognitive bias modification techniques, the present study examined whether training a more positive interpretation bias or attention bias resulted in transfer of effects to the untrained cognitive domain. Differences in anxiety reactivity to a real-world stressor were also assessed.

Methods: Ninety-seven first year undergraduates who had self-reported anxiety were allocated to one of four groups: attention bias training (n&nbsp;=&nbsp;24), interpretation bias training (n&nbsp;=&nbsp;26), control task training (n&nbsp;=&nbsp;25) and no training (n&nbsp;=&nbsp;22). Training was computer-based and comprised eight sessions over four weeks. Baseline and follow-up measures of attention and interpretation bias, anxiety and depression were taken.

Results: A significant reduction in threat-related attention bias and an increase in positive interpretation bias occurred in the attention bias training group. The interpretation bias training group did not exhibit a significant change in attention bias, only interpretation bias. The effect of attention bias training on interpretation bias was significant as compared with the two control groups. There were no effects on self-report measures.

Limitations: The extent to which interpretive training can modify attentional processing remains unclear.

Conclusions: Findings support the idea that attentional training might have broad cognitive consequences, impacting downstream on interpretive bias. However, they do not fully support a common mechanism hypothesis, as interpretive training did not impact on attentional bias.

No MeSH data available.