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How to modify (implicit) evaluations of fear-related stimuli: effects of feature-specific attention allocation

Jolien Vanaelst (UGent) , Adriaan Spruyt (UGent) and Jan De Houwer (UGent)
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Abstract
We demonstrate that feature-specific attention allocation influences the way in which repeated exposure modulates implicit and explicit evaluations toward fear-related stimuli. During an exposure procedure, participants were encouraged to assign selective attention either to the evaluative meaning (i.e., Evaluative Condition) or a non-evaluative, semantic feature (i.e., Semantic Condition) of fear-related stimuli. The influence of the exposure procedure was captured by means of a measure of implicit evaluation, explicit evaluative ratings, and a measure of automatic approach/avoidance tendencies. As predicted, the implicit measure of evaluation revealed a reduced expression of evaluations in the Semantic Condition as compared to the Evaluative Condition. Moreover, this effect generalized toward novel objects that were never presented during the exposure procedure. The explicit measure of evaluation mimicked this effect, although it failed to reach conventional levels of statistical significance. No effects were found in terms of automatic approach/avoidance tendencies. Potential implications for the treatment of anxiety disorders are discussed.
Keywords
ASSOCIATION TEST, EXPLICIT ATTITUDE-CHANGE, ANXIETY, RESPONSES, INDIVIDUALS, BEHAVIOR, THREAT, METAANALYSIS, INFORMATION, feature-specific attention allocation, selective attention, spider fear, implicit evaluation, extinction, COGNITIVE BIAS MODIFICATION

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Citation

Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

MLA
Vanaelst, Jolien, Adriaan Spruyt, and Jan De Houwer. “How to Modify (implicit) Evaluations of Fear-related Stimuli: Effects of Feature-specific Attention Allocation.” FRONTIERS IN PSYCHOLOGY 7 (2016): n. pag. Print.
APA
Vanaelst, J., Spruyt, A., & De Houwer, J. (2016). How to modify (implicit) evaluations of fear-related stimuli: effects of feature-specific attention allocation. FRONTIERS IN PSYCHOLOGY, 7.
Chicago author-date
Vanaelst, Jolien, Adriaan Spruyt, and Jan De Houwer. 2016. “How to Modify (implicit) Evaluations of Fear-related Stimuli: Effects of Feature-specific Attention Allocation.” Frontiers in Psychology 7.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Vanaelst, Jolien, Adriaan Spruyt, and Jan De Houwer. 2016. “How to Modify (implicit) Evaluations of Fear-related Stimuli: Effects of Feature-specific Attention Allocation.” Frontiers in Psychology 7.
Vancouver
1.
Vanaelst J, Spruyt A, De Houwer J. How to modify (implicit) evaluations of fear-related stimuli: effects of feature-specific attention allocation. FRONTIERS IN PSYCHOLOGY. LAUSANNE: FRONTIERS MEDIA SA; 2016;7.
IEEE
[1]
J. Vanaelst, A. Spruyt, and J. De Houwer, “How to modify (implicit) evaluations of fear-related stimuli: effects of feature-specific attention allocation,” FRONTIERS IN PSYCHOLOGY, vol. 7, 2016.
@article{7254332,
  abstract     = {We demonstrate that feature-specific attention allocation influences the way in which repeated exposure modulates implicit and explicit evaluations toward fear-related stimuli. During an exposure procedure, participants were encouraged to assign selective attention either to the evaluative meaning (i.e., Evaluative Condition) or a non-evaluative, semantic feature (i.e., Semantic Condition) of fear-related stimuli. The influence of the exposure procedure was captured by means of a measure of implicit evaluation, explicit evaluative ratings, and a measure of automatic approach/avoidance tendencies. As predicted, the implicit measure of evaluation revealed a reduced expression of evaluations in the Semantic Condition as compared to the Evaluative Condition. Moreover, this effect generalized toward novel objects that were never presented during the exposure procedure. The explicit measure of evaluation mimicked this effect, although it failed to reach conventional levels of statistical significance. No effects were found in terms of automatic approach/avoidance tendencies. Potential implications for the treatment of anxiety disorders are discussed.},
  articleno    = {717},
  author       = {Vanaelst, Jolien and Spruyt, Adriaan and De Houwer, Jan},
  issn         = {1664-1078},
  journal      = {FRONTIERS IN PSYCHOLOGY},
  keywords     = {ASSOCIATION TEST,EXPLICIT ATTITUDE-CHANGE,ANXIETY,RESPONSES,INDIVIDUALS,BEHAVIOR,THREAT,METAANALYSIS,INFORMATION,feature-specific attention allocation,selective attention,spider fear,implicit evaluation,extinction,COGNITIVE BIAS MODIFICATION},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {9},
  publisher    = {FRONTIERS MEDIA SA},
  title        = {How to modify (implicit) evaluations of fear-related stimuli: effects of feature-specific attention allocation},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00717},
  volume       = {7},
  year         = {2016},
}

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