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Effects of verbal information on fear-related reasoning biases in children

By Peter Muris, Eric Rassin, Birgit Mayer, Guus Smeets, Jorg Huijding, Daniëlle Remmerswaal and Andy Field

Abstract

The present study made an attempt to induce fear-related reasoning biases by providing children with negative information about a novel stimulus. For this purpose, non-clinical children aged 9-12 years (N = 318) were shown a picture of an unknown animal for which they received either negative, ambiguous, positive, or no information. Then children completed a series of tests for measuring various types of reasoning biases (i.e., confirmation bias and covariation bias) in relation to this animal. Results indicated that children in the negative and, to a lesser extent, the ambiguous information groups displayed higher scores on tests of fear-related reasoning biases than children in the positive and no information groups. Altogether, these results support the idea that learning via negatively tinted information plays a role in the development of fear-related cognitive distortions in youths. 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved

Year: 2009
OAI identifier: oai:sro.sussex.ac.uk:14667
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