|Institution:||University of Iceland|
|Full text PDF:||http://hdl.handle.net/1946/21731|
Background and objectives: Socially anxious individuals have been found to have an attentional bias towards threats. It is hoped that computerized tasks can be used in attention bias modification (ABM) as a treatment resources for socially anxious people. In recent years computerized tasks have been used to assess attentional bias toward threats. But the tasks most used heretofore have been criticized for being unreliable. Therefore it is important to investigate the ability of these tasks to identify attentional bias towards threats further. Methods: Researchers compared the sensitivity of four tasks: The dot-probe task, the visual cueing task, the visual search task and the attentional blink task. These tasks were tested on 31 healthy individuals. A counterbalanced within-subject design was used. Results: The attentional blink proved to be the most sensitive task to assess attentional bias towards threat, whereas the other tasks did not find any difference in performance due to difference in facial expression on the stimuli that were used. In the attentional blink task the attentional blink was reduced when T2 was a threatening facial expression, in comparison to when the expression was neutral. Limitations: The main limitation of this study was a small sample. With a larger sample size more reliable results would have been found. Conclusions: Results indicate that the attentional blink task could be more useful than the computerized tasks that are currently used, both in measuring attention bias and in developing of ABM as a potential treatment resource for socially anxious people. Keywords: Attentional bias, attention bias modification, cognitive bias modification, social anxiety, attentional blink.