Attentional Bias Causes Anxiety

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It has been claimed that attentional bias causes anxiety. Attentional bias is when attention is automatically captured by certain stimuli. In terms of anxiety, this can be for example, the fear of spiders. Individuals who suffer from the phobia could, for example be reading a newspaper and related stimuli such as the word ‘web’ would capture their attention. Attentional bias has been found among many anxiety disorders including social phobia, OCD, trait anxiety, social phobia and generalised anxiety disorder (GAD). I will review evidence for the presence of attentional bias among anxiety disorders and try to determine whether attentional bias causes anxiety. I will review evidence from Macleod and Mathews (2002), Koster, Crombez, Verschuere, Damme and Wiersema (2006), and Bradley and Mogg (1999). The topic of this essay will be to review the evidence that attentional bias causes anxiety. “There is widespread evidence of an attentional bias towards threat material in clinical anxiety” (MacLeod, Mathews & Tata, 1986; Mogg, Mathews & Eysenck, 1992). Certain treatments have been created for anxiety disorders that have been shown to reduce cognitive biases such as attentional bias, Fox et al (2005). This indicates that attentional bias is present within anxiety disorders. Stroop tasks have further developed research on attentional bias within anxiety as shown by Macleod (1991) and Macleod and Mathews (2002). Participants with anxiety disorders produce slower reaction times towards threat stimuli than the controls, indicating that attentional bias for threat related stimuli exists and has a greater effect on anxious individuals. Macleod and Mathews (1991) induced attentional biases within a laboratory setting to determine that a ca... ... middle of paper ... ...hin anxiety then perhaps we can provide treatments to identify and alleviate anxiety. Works Cited Bradley, B. Mogg, K. White, J. Groom, C. Bono, J. . (1999). Attentional bias for emotional faces in generalized anxiety disorder. British Journal of Clinical Psychology. 38 (1), 267±278. Fox, E. Russo, R. Georgiou, G. . (2005). Anxiety Modulates the Degree of Attentive Resources Required to Process Emotional Faces. Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience. 5 (4), p396-404. Koster, E. Crombez G. Verschuere, B. Van Damme, S. Wiersema, J.. (2006). Components of attentional bias to threat in high trait anxiety: Facilitated engagement, impaired disengagement, and attentional avoidance. Behaviour Research and Therapy. 2 (44), p1757–1771. Mathews, A. Macleod, C. (2002). Induced processing biases have causal effects on anxiety. Cognition & Emotion.. 3 (16), p331-354.

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