Attention bias vs. attention control modification for social anxiety disorder: A randomized controlled trial

Omer Azriel, Gal Arad, Daniel S. Pine, Amit Lazarov, Yair Bar-Haim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Gaze-Contingent Music Reward Therapy (GC-MRT) is an eye-tracking-based attention bias modification protocol for social anxiety disorder (SAD) with established clinical efficacy. However, it remains unclear if improvement following GC-MRT hinges on modification of threat-related attention or on more general enhancement of attention control. Here, 50 patients with SAD were randomly allocated to GC-MRT using either threat faces or shapes. Results indicate comparable reductions in social anxiety and co-morbid depression symptoms in the two conditions. Patients in the shapes condition showed a significant increase in attention control and a reduction in attention to both the trained shapes and threat faces, whereas patients in the faces condition showed a reduction in attention to threat faces only. These findings suggest that enhancement of attention control, independent of valence-specific attention modification, may facilitate reduction in SAD symptoms. Alternative interpretations and clinical implications of the current findings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102800
JournalJournal of Anxiety Disorders
Volume101
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2024

Keywords

  • Attention bias modification
  • Attention control
  • Social anxiety
  • Threat

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Clinical Psychology

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