Do College Students with Public Speaking Anxiety Show an Attentional Bias Toward Threat?
Frey, Kristen Ann
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Cognitive theories postulate that attention toward threatening information and away from neutral cues plays an etiological role in anxiety. The present study examines whether a preconscious attentional bias (AB) toward threatening stimuli exists in individuals with public speaking anxiety. Participants included 61 undergraduates with high and low speech anxiety. AB was measured using a dot-probe paradigm with threatening and neutral words. Reaction times to dot-probes on threatening and neutral trials were compared between the two groups. Results indicated that, contrary to expectations, high and low speech anxious participants did not differ in their mean reaction times to threat words. Thus, AB may not be measurable in individuals with public speaking anxiety using the method that the current study employed.
- Masters Theses