- Illusory correlation and social anxiety.
- Behaviour Research and Therapy
- Volume | Issue number
- 36 | 11
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
An illusory correlation (IC) experiment examined the presence of a phobia-relevant covariation bias in the context of social anxiety. 60 female college students (28 with low and 32 with high social anxiety) were shown a series of slides comprising pictures of angry, happy, and neutral faces which were randomly paired with either a shock, a siren or nothing. One half of the Ss were shown female faces, whereas the other half were shown male faces. Ss indicated outcome expectancies on a trial by trial basis. After the experiment proper they estimated the contingencies of all slide/outcome combinations. Ss showed both an a priori and an a posteriori IC between angry faces and shock. This covariation bias was similar for men and women faces and independent of prior fear. It is concluded that the pattern of results is consistent with the idea that ICs arise from initial expectancies that survive extinction.
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