Fear of spiders: The effect of real threat on the interference caused by symbolic threat
SourceCognition & Emotion, 24, 5, (2010), pp. 800-809
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI KLP
Cognition & Emotion
SubjectExperimental Psychopathology and Treatment
The effect of the presence of a real spider on attentional biases for symbolic spider stimuli was examined in 42 low-fearful and 26 high-spider-fearful participants. They completed a word colour-naming task as well as a picture orientation-judgement task, both with versus without a spider present in the experimental room. In both tasks, spider-related words and pictures interfered with task performance in high-fearfuls, but not low-fearfuls, revealing an attentional bias for spider-related stimuli in spider-fearfuls. This was true both with and without a real spider present. These results suggest that, partly in contrast to earlier findings, the presence of a real threat stimulus had no influence on the interference caused by symbolic threat stimuli.
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