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Behav Res Ther. 1999 Dec;37(12):1159-67.

Learning history in fear of blushing.

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Department of Medical, Clinical and Experimental Psychology, Maastricht University, Netherlands.


Two studies, investigating the learning history (i.e. traumatic conditioning experiences, vicarious learning, informational learning) of individuals with and without fear of blushing, are presented. In study 1, individuals high (n = 61) and low (n = 59) in fear of blushing completed the (revised) Phobic Origin Questionnaire [POQ; Ost, L. G., & Hugdahl, K. (1981). Acquisition of phobias and anxiety response patterns in clinical patients. Behavior Research and Therapy, 19, 439-447]. In study 2, individuals who applied for treatment for fear of blushing (n = 31) and a nonfearful, matched control group (n = 31) were interviewed with the same instrument, taking into account only specific memories. High fearful individuals reported more negative learning experiences in connection with blushing than low fearful individuals, irrespective of the type of questioning. Meanwhile, study 1 (written POQ) produced higher percentages of negative learning experiences for both high and low fearful individuals than study 2 (interview). It is concluded that the POQ interview showed a more realistic picture than the written POQ. The possible role of learning history in the acquisition of fear of blushing is discussed.

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