Watch Out for the Beast: Fear Information and Attentional Bias in Children

Field, Andy P (2006) Watch Out for the Beast: Fear Information and Attentional Bias in Children. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 35 (3). pp. 431-439. ISSN 1537-4416

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Although valenced information about novel animals changes the implicit and explicit fear beliefs of children (Field & Lawson, 2003), how it might lead to anxiety is unknown. One possibility, based on cognitive models of anxiety, is that fear information creates attentional biases similar to those seen in anxiety disorders. Children between 7 and 9 years old were given positive information about 1 novel animal, negative information about another, and no information about the 3rd. A pictorial dot-probe task was used, immediately or with a 24-hr delay, to test for attentional biases to the different animals. The results replicated the finding that fear information changes children's fear beliefs. Regardless of whether there was a delay, children acquired an attentional bias in the left visual field toward the animal about which they held negative beliefs compared to the control animal. These results imply a possible way in which fear information might contribute to acquired fear.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF0712 Developmental psychology Including infant psychology, child psychology, adolescence, adulthood
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Depositing User: Andy Field
Date Deposited: 23 Nov 2006
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2019 22:02
Google Scholar:42 Citations

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