Hypervigilance-avoidance pattern in spider phobia

Pflugshaupt, Tobias; Mosimann, Urs P; von Wartburg, Roman; Schmitt, Wolfgang; Nyffeler, Thomas; Müri, René M (2005). Hypervigilance-avoidance pattern in spider phobia. Journal of anxiety disorders, 19(1), pp. 105-16. Amsterdam: Elsevier 10.1016/j.janxdis.2003.12.002

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Cognitive-motivational theories of phobias propose that patients' behavior is characterized by a hypervigilance-avoidance pattern. This implies that phobics initially direct their attention towards fear-relevant stimuli, followed by avoidance that is thought to prevent objective evaluation and habituation. However, previous experiments with highly anxious individuals confirmed initial hypervigilance and yet failed to show subsequent avoidance. In the present study, we administered a visual task in spider phobics and controls, requiring participants to search for spiders. Analyzing eye movements during visual exploration allowed the examination of spatial as well as temporal aspects of phobic behavior. Confirming the hypervigilance-avoidance hypothesis as a whole, our results showed that, relative to controls, phobics detected spiders faster, fixated closer to spiders during the initial search phase and fixated further from spiders subsequently.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Head Organs and Neurology (DKNS) > Clinic of Neurology

UniBE Contributor:

Nyffeler, Thomas

ISSN:

0887-6185

ISBN:

15488370

Publisher:

Elsevier

Language:

English

Submitter:

Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 15:05

Last Modified:

16 Apr 2014 16:09

Publisher DOI:

10.1016/j.janxdis.2003.12.002

PubMed ID:

15488370

Web of Science ID:

000224874800006

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/28482 (FactScience: 120955)

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