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There is inconsistent evidence for memory biases in anxiety disorders, perhaps because memory biases require activation of the relevant fear schema to be observable. Cognitive theories predict this will occur when exposure to the feared stimulus is combined with semantic and affective activation. The current study examined the impact of priming (having a live spider present) on explicit memory among individuals who were low (N = 53) or high (N = 51) in spider fear. As predicted, only participants who were both high in spider fear and primed (spider present) exhibited preferential recall of spider words (but not of other words). Findings are discussed in terms of how priming may enhance the expression of information processing biases among vulnerable individuals.
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- Impact of Priming on Explicit Memory in Spider Fear
Shannan Briana Smith-Janik
Bethany Ann Teachman
- Springer US