- Cognitive bias in spider fear and control children: Assessment of emotional interference by a card format and a single-trial format of the Stroop task
- Journal of Experimental Child Psychology
- Volume | Issue number
- 66 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
Aimed to clarify whether nonclinical fear of spiders in children is related to a distorted cognitive processing of fear-related information. It was hypothesized that if a processing bias for threatening information is inherent to spider fear, a bias for spider-related information would be found in children with spider-fear, but not in control children. Since spider phobia is more pronounced in women than in men, it was also investigated whether this bias would be stronger for girls than for boys. The authors administered a card format and a single-trial format of the Stroop task to 39 female and 33 male children with spider-fear and 35 female and 38 male control children (aged 8-12 yrs). A bias for spider words was observed in Ss with spider fear as well as in control Ss, regardless of the format used. Furthermore, the processing biases assessed by the 2 formats did not correlate, which suggests that they measure different mechanisms and/or that 1 or both mechanisms are unstable. It is speculated that certain cognitive developmental deficits in regulating emotions may be a vulnerability factor in the etiology of anxiety disorders.
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