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13-07-2019 | Original Article | Uitgave 6/2019 Open Access

Cognitive Therapy and Research 6/2019

Cognitive Bias Modification of Expectancies (CBM-E): Effects on Interpretation Bias and Autobiographical Memory, and Relations with Social and Attachment Anxiety

Cognitive Therapy and Research > Uitgave 6/2019
Julie Krans, Guy Bosmans, Elske Salemink, Rudi De Raedt
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Social anxiety is characterised by a bias to recall negative social autobiographical memories as well as anxious expectations about future social interactions. Neuroscientific research shows that a shared neural network underlies both temporal directions of autobiographical recall and future self-projections. Inspired by these findings, the current study tested the effectiveness of a Cognitive Bias Modification training to induce expectancies about the outcome of possible future social interactions (CBM-E). Its effects on interpretation bias, autobiographical recall and personal future projections were tested additionally. Participants read short social scenarios that could possibly happen to them in the future. Each scenario ended in word-fragment which, when completed, disambiguated the meaning of the scenario in either an optimistic or pessimistic way contingent on experimental condition. The CBM-E training was tested in 120 student participants and appeared effective in changing expectancies. The effect generalized to social interpretation bias (scrambled sentences). No direct effects of the training were found on autobiographical recall or future projections. However, participants trained to have pessimistic expectancies who had higher attachment anxiety showed a less positive interpretation bias related to the future. Furthermore, participants with high social anxiety reported less positive personal future projections when trained to have optimistic social expectancies.

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