Cognitive effects of attentional training depend on attentional control
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Attentional bias is assumed to be partly responsible for the onset and maintenance of anxiety by major cognitive theories of emotional disorders. Although much is already known about the therapeutic effects of attentional bias training, only a few studies have examined the mechanism responsible for these effects. In order to test if low-level, cognitive effects of attentional bias training depend on attentional control, 73 participants, who completed the STAI-x2 and the ACS questionnaires, were randomly assigned to a control (n = 37) or attentional training group (n = 36). The attentional manipulation was followed by a search task, during which novel neutral or negative faces could be presented within an array of all-neutral, all-negative or all-positive faces. It was found that individuals with higher ACS score displayed stronger attentional training effects, i.e., they were less accurate in detecting distinctive negative faces, and this effect was not found to be associated with STAI-x2 score. These results show that there is individual variability even in immediate, cognitive effects of attentional bias modifi cation and that special abilities, such as attentional control, might be required for attentional training to be effi cient.
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