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J Behav Ther Exp Psychiatry. 2013 Jun;44(2):248-54. doi: 10.1016/j.jbtep.2012.11.003. Epub 2012 Nov 28.

The effects of a visual search attentional bias modification paradigm on attentional bias in dysphoric individuals.

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  • 1Institute of Psychology, Leiden University, Wassenaarseweg 52, 2333 AK Leiden, The Netherlands.



Attentional Bias Modification (ABM) may constitute a new type of treatment for affective disorders. ABM refers to computerized training programs that have been developed based on laboratory findings in experimental psychology. Meta-analyses have reported moderate effect sizes in anxiety disorders. Two small studies have also claimed an effect in dysphoria. Furthermore, a series of studies in individuals with low self-esteem has shown that they benefit from a single session of an ABM variant based on a visual search task. The current study tested the working mechanism of visual search ABM in dysphoria.


Forty dysphoric individuals engaged in a single session of ABM training or control training. Attentional bias for positive and negative facial expressions was assessed pre- and post training. Positive and negative mood states were assessed throughout the procedure.


Attentional training had no effect on attentional bias. Positive and negative mood states were not differentially affected by training condition.


Small treatment effects may have gone undetected and there are some methodological differences with prior research.


We found no evidence that engaging in a single session of a visual search ABM modifies attentional biases for happy, sad or disgusted facial expressions.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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