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Expectancy bias in a selective conditioning procedure: trait anxiety increases the threat value of a blocked stimulus.
J Behav Ther Exp Psychiatry. 2012 Jun; 43(2):832-7.JB

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES

In a blocking procedure, a single conditioned stimulus (CS) is paired with an unconditioned stimulus (US), such as electric shock, in the first stage. During the subsequent stage, the CS is presented together with a second CS and this compound is followed by the same US. Fear conditioning studies in non-human animals have demonstrated that fear responding to the added second CS typically remains low, despite its being paired with the US. Accordingly, the blocking procedure is well suited as a laboratory model for studying (deficits in) selective threat appraisal. The present study tested the relation between trait anxiety and blocking in human aversive conditioning.

METHODS

Healthy participants filled in a trait anxiety questionnaire and underwent blocking treatment in the human aversive conditioning paradigm. Threat appraisal was measured through shock expectancy ratings and skin conductance.

RESULTS

As hypothesized, trait anxiety was positively associated with shock expectancy ratings to the blocked stimulus.

LIMITATIONS

In skin conductance responding, no significant effects of stimulus type could be detected during blocking training or testing. The current study does not allow strong claims to be made regarding the theoretical process underlying the expectancy bias we observed.

CONCLUSIONS

The observed shock expectancy bias might be one of the mechanisms leading to non-specific fear in individuals at risk for developing anxiety disorders. A deficit in blocking, or a deficit in selective threat appraisal at the more general level, indeed results in fear becoming non-specific and disconnected from the most likely causes or predictors of danger.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Department of Psychology, University of Leuven, Belgium.No affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Language

eng

PubMed ID

22197754

Citation

Boddez, Yannick, et al. "Expectancy Bias in a Selective Conditioning Procedure: Trait Anxiety Increases the Threat Value of a Blocked Stimulus." Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, vol. 43, no. 2, 2012, pp. 832-7.
Boddez Y, Vervliet B, Baeyens F, et al. Expectancy bias in a selective conditioning procedure: trait anxiety increases the threat value of a blocked stimulus. J Behav Ther Exp Psychiatry. 2012;43(2):832-7.
Boddez, Y., Vervliet, B., Baeyens, F., Lauwers, S., Hermans, D., & Beckers, T. (2012). Expectancy bias in a selective conditioning procedure: trait anxiety increases the threat value of a blocked stimulus. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 43(2), 832-7. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbtep.2011.11.005
Boddez Y, et al. Expectancy Bias in a Selective Conditioning Procedure: Trait Anxiety Increases the Threat Value of a Blocked Stimulus. J Behav Ther Exp Psychiatry. 2012;43(2):832-7. PubMed PMID: 22197754.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Expectancy bias in a selective conditioning procedure: trait anxiety increases the threat value of a blocked stimulus. AU - Boddez,Yannick, AU - Vervliet,Bram, AU - Baeyens,Frank, AU - Lauwers,Stephanie, AU - Hermans,Dirk, AU - Beckers,Tom, Y1 - 2011/12/13/ PY - 2011/07/20/received PY - 2011/11/29/revised PY - 2011/11/29/accepted PY - 2011/12/27/entrez PY - 2011/12/27/pubmed PY - 2012/5/23/medline SP - 832 EP - 7 JF - Journal of behavior therapy and experimental psychiatry JO - J Behav Ther Exp Psychiatry VL - 43 IS - 2 N2 - BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: In a blocking procedure, a single conditioned stimulus (CS) is paired with an unconditioned stimulus (US), such as electric shock, in the first stage. During the subsequent stage, the CS is presented together with a second CS and this compound is followed by the same US. Fear conditioning studies in non-human animals have demonstrated that fear responding to the added second CS typically remains low, despite its being paired with the US. Accordingly, the blocking procedure is well suited as a laboratory model for studying (deficits in) selective threat appraisal. The present study tested the relation between trait anxiety and blocking in human aversive conditioning. METHODS: Healthy participants filled in a trait anxiety questionnaire and underwent blocking treatment in the human aversive conditioning paradigm. Threat appraisal was measured through shock expectancy ratings and skin conductance. RESULTS: As hypothesized, trait anxiety was positively associated with shock expectancy ratings to the blocked stimulus. LIMITATIONS: In skin conductance responding, no significant effects of stimulus type could be detected during blocking training or testing. The current study does not allow strong claims to be made regarding the theoretical process underlying the expectancy bias we observed. CONCLUSIONS: The observed shock expectancy bias might be one of the mechanisms leading to non-specific fear in individuals at risk for developing anxiety disorders. A deficit in blocking, or a deficit in selective threat appraisal at the more general level, indeed results in fear becoming non-specific and disconnected from the most likely causes or predictors of danger. SN - 1873-7943 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/22197754/Expectancy_bias_in_a_selective_conditioning_procedure:_trait_anxiety_increases_the_threat_value_of_a_blocked_stimulus_ L2 - https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0005-7916(11)00125-X DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -