Cognitive bias modification: the critical role of active training in modifying emotional responses

Laura Hoppitt, Andrew Mathews, Jenny Yiend, Bundy Mackintosh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

55 Citations (Scopus)


Training participants to select threat or nonthreat interpretations of emotionally ambiguous stimuli or passively exposing them to valenced scenarios can modify later interpretation of ambiguity. However, only when encouraged to actively select meanings do congruent changes in emotional response occur during training itself (Mathews & Mackintosh, 2000). The present study assessed the more critical question of whether active training is also necessary for modifying subsequent emotional responses to images of new ambiguous scenarios presented after training. As predicted, active training did lead participants to rate their images of emotionally ambiguous scenarios as being more unpleasant after training as compared to a matched passive condition. This finding supports the view that active generation of meaning during interpretive training is critical for the modification of later emotional responses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-81
Number of pages9
JournalBehavior Therapy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2010

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