Brief computerized programs that train less threatening interpretations (termed Cognitive Bias Modification for Interpretations, or CBM-I) can shift interpretation biases and subsequent anxiety symptoms. However, results have been inconsistent, particularly for studies conducted over the Internet.
The current exploratory study tests 13 variations of a single brief session of CBM-I, a non-CBM-I cognitive flexibility condition, a neutral condition, and a no task control condition in an analogue sample with moderate to severe anxiety.
Results suggest that all conditions, except the neutral scenarios condition and the alternative way to improve cognitive flexibility, led to changes in interpretations (when compared to the no task control condition). Only conditions geared toward increasing imagery during CBM-I and targeting flexibility related to emotional material differed from the no task control condition on other post-training measures.
Presenting valenced interpretations of ambiguous information during brief CBM-I, regardless of the format, can lead to changes in interpretation bias. However, most conditions did not differ from the no task control condition on other post-training assessments (and differences that did occur may be due to chance). Future trials should consider further testing of CBM-I that targets flexibility related to emotional material, and should include an increased number of sessions and trials.