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Interpretation Bias in Social Anxiety as Detected by Event-Related Brain Potentials

Moser, Jason S. ; Hajcak, Greg ; Huppert, Jonathan D. ; Foa, Edna B. ; Simons, Robert F.

Emotion, 2008, Vol.8(5), pp.693-700 [Peer Reviewed Journal]

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  • Title:
    Interpretation Bias in Social Anxiety as Detected by Event-Related Brain Potentials
  • Author/Creator: Moser, Jason S. ; Hajcak, Greg ; Huppert, Jonathan D. ; Foa, Edna B. ; Simons, Robert F.
  • Language: English
  • Subjects: Social Anxiety ; Social Phobia ; Interpretation Bias ; Event-Related Potentials ; P600
  • Is Part Of: Emotion, 2008, Vol.8(5), pp.693-700
  • Description: Little is known about psychophysiological correlates of interpretation bias in social anxiety. To address this issue, the authors measured event-related brain potentials (ERPs) in high and low socially anxious individuals during a task wherein ambiguous scenarios were resolved with either a positive or negative ending. Specifically, the authors examined modulations of the P600, an ERP that peaks approximately 600 ms following stimulus onset and indexes violations of expectancy. Low-anxious individuals were characterized by an increased P600 to negative in comparison with positive sentence endings, suggesting a positive interpretation bias. In contrast, the high-anxious group evidenced equivalent P600 magnitude for negative and positive sentence endings, suggesting a lack of positive interpretation bias. Similar, but less reliable results emerged in earlier time windows, that is, 200–500 ms poststimulus. Reaction time, occurring around 900 ms poststimulus, failed to show a reliable interpretation bias. Results suggest that ERPs can detect interpretation biases in social anxiety before the emission of behavioral responses.
  • Identifier: ISSN: 1528-3542 ; E-ISSN: 1931-1516 ; DOI: 10.1037/a0013173