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19-11-2020 | Brief Report | Uitgave 1/2021

Cognitive Therapy and Research 1/2021

Emotion-in-Motion: An ABM Approach that Modifies Attentional Disengagement from, Rather than Attentional Engagement with, Negative Information

Cognitive Therapy and Research > Uitgave 1/2021
Julian Basanovic, Lies Notebaert, Patrick J. F. Clarke, Colin MacLeod
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Individuals with heightened anxiety vulnerability demonstrate a bias favouring attention to negative information, and it has been argued that this reflects a difficulty to disengage from negative information. Methods to manipulate attentional bias have demonstrated inconsistent effectiveness, however such methods have not targeted biases in attentional disengagement specifically. A recently developed approach to attentional bias modification, labelled Emotion-in-Motion, has been proposed to result in facilitated attentional disengagement from information. Thus, the present study empirically investigated whether the Emotion-in-Motion task modifies biased attentional disengagement from negative information using eye-movement recordings.


Forty-four participants completed the Emotion-in-Motion attention manipulation task under conditions designed to enhance attention (Attend Negative) or attenuate attention (Avoid Negative) to negative information. Biased attentional engagement with, and attentional disengagement from, negative information was examined subsequently.


Participants in the Avoid Negative condition demonstrated lower levels of biased attentional disengagement from negative information as compared to participants in the Attend Negative condition. No difference in biased attentional engagement with negative information was observed.


It is concluded that the Emotion-in-Motion task serves to independently manipulate selective attentional disengagement from negative information and may be useful in investigating the specific role of biased attentional disengagement in emotional vulnerability.

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