Information processing modification in social anxiety
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The current study aimed to improve previous procedures used to manipulate information processing biases. Previous studies have manipulated cognitive biases in isolation, but these processes likely work in combination to maintain anxiety. Thus, the current study compared the efficacy of attention training, interpretation training, and a combined attention and interpretation training procedure in decreasing anxiety in socially anxious individuals. Socially anxious individuals were randomly assigned to one of four conditions: (a) attention training and interpretation training, (b) attention training and interpretation control, (c) attention control and interpretation training, and (d) attention control and interpretation control. The primary outcome variable was anxiety in response to a social challenge (i.e. impromptu speech). Results revealed that the combined training reduced anxiety compared to the attention and interpretation training conditions, but not compared to the control condition. A different pattern of results emerged when examining participants who were unaware of the training contingencies. These findings have implications for future cognitive bias modification studies.