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Fear and Anxiety in Social Setting An Experimental Study

Randelovic, K., Smederevac, S., Colovic, P. & Corr, P. J. ORCID: 0000-0002-7618-0058 (2018). Fear and Anxiety in Social Setting An Experimental Study. Journal of Individual Differences, 39(2), pp. 61-75. doi: 10.1027/1614-0001/a000251


The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of dispositional and situational factors on cognitive biases. The theoretical background was based on Kimbrel’s Mediated Model of Social Anxiety and the revised reinforcement sensitivity theory by Gray and McNaughton. Two experiments were conducted. Study 1 (78 participants [85.9% females, aged 19–21 years]) included the induction of potential social threat, while in Study 2 (121 participants [85.1% females, aged 19–23 years]) real threat was used. The Reinforcement Sensitivity Questionnaire was employed as a measure of personality traits (Behavioral Inhibition System [BIS], Behavioral Approach System [BAS], Fight, Flight, and Freeze). Cognitive biases were assessed with the Dot Probe Task (attentional bias), Incidental Free Recall Task (memory bias), and Social Probability Cost Questionnaire (judgmental bias). The probability of occurrence of negative events was higher in the experimental group. BIS contributed positively to the prediction of probability of occurrence of negative events; and Freeze was positively related to attention bias toward pleasant stimuli. The results of the second study showed that experimentally induced circumstances of social threats did not affect cognitive biases. BIS and Freeze contributed positively to prediction of probability and distress in social context, while BIS was positively related with probability of occurrence of negative social events.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: Journal of Individual Differences 39(2). © 2018 by Hogrefe & Huber. This version of the article may not completely replicate the final version published in 'Journal of Individual Differences'. It is not the version of record and is therefore not suitable for citation.
Publisher Keywords: revised reinforcement sensitivity theory, social threat, potential versus real threat, cognitive biases
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
SWORD Depositor:
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