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Psychotherapy (Chic). 2007 Dec;44(4):450-62. doi: 10.1037/0033-3204.44.4.450.

Clinical implications of attentional bias in anxiety disorders: An integrative literature review.

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  • 1University of East Anglia.


Research on information processing biases has been motivated by the hope that it would lead to new and more efficient psychotherapeutic interventions. The literature is abundant with empirical data of attentional biases toward threat stimuli in anxiety disorders. This article aims to review the existing literature on the topic of attentional bias in anxiety disorders and discuss important implications for clinical practice. We adopted an integrative approach to link research data on attentional bias, information processing, and cognitive accounts (automaticity and controllability) with clinical practice in cognitive-behavioral therapy. It is important to develop and apply therapeutic interventions that can effectively reduce negative attentional biases while treating the main problems associated with anxiety disorders. However, it remains to be seen whether cognitive therapy interventions targeting more voluntary, strategic information processing can have a positive impact on automatic, involuntary processing involved in attentional biases. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved).

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