British Journal of Clinical Psychology

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Volume 37 Issue 1 (February 1998), Pages 1-126

Cognitive inhibition in phobia (pages 103-106)

Objectives. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether cognitive bias for threat in anxious individuals may be attributed to a defective inhibition.

Design. It was investigated whether phobics and not non‐phobics would show a defective inhibition of threat words as compared to neutral words.

Method. Inhibition was measured by a negative priming task, which was administered to spider phobic participants (N = 29) and non‐phobic controls (N = 31).

Results. The phobics did not show less negative priming of threatening information. Instead, they showed a general delay on all probe displays that were presented after threatening primes.

Conclusion. Anxiety is related to defective inhibition of threat, in the sense that this inhibition consumes extra cognitive resources.

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