Cognitive Mechanisms Underlying the Emotional Effects of Bias Modification

L Hoppitt, A Mathews, J Yiend, B Mackintosh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

40 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In this study we assessed the cognitive mechanisms underlying the affective consequences of modifying emotional processing biases. During ‘active’ training participants selected either threatening or non-threatening meanings of emotionally ambiguous words, in contrast to ‘passive’ conditions in which participants read unambiguous words with equivalent valenced meanings. Both methods enhanced access to training-congruent primed emotional meanings, as assessed in a lexical decision task, although neither method displayed evidence of an induced interpretive bias as it is usually understood. However, consistent with previous research, the methods differed in their emotional consequences: Active training had greater effects on anxiety while viewing an accident video than did passive exposure. We interpret these results to suggest that both forms of training enhance priming of a valenced category, but only active conditions induce an implicit production rule to generate and/or select emotional meanings, and that it is this latter process that is critical to the modification of emotionality. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)312-325
Number of pages14
JournalApplied Cognitive Psychology
Volume24
Issue number3
Early online date18 Mar 2010
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2010

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