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Attention Training in Anxiety Using Attention Bias Modification and Electrophysiology Methods

By: , & Published: 2018 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases Part 2
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Attentional bias modification (ABM) methods have been developed to reduce attentional bias to threat in anxious individuals by directing attention to non-threatening stimuli. Although ABM studies have been associated with a reduction in attentional bias to threat and a reduction in anxiety symptoms within anxious participants, these studies typically train attention toward neutral stimuli and away from threatening stimuli. Training attention toward pleasant and away from threatening stimuli may also be helpful to anxious participants who may not process pleasant information in the same way as non-anxious individuals. We hypothesized that training attention to pleasant stimuli would increase attentional processing of pleasant information and decrease anxiety symptoms. This case study describes how neuroscience methods such as electroencephalography (EEG) data can be combined with ABM methods to provide key information relevant to understanding how ABM reduces anxiety symptoms. Along with the challenges of using these methods, we discuss issues in conducting research within anxious populations.

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