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J Abnorm Psychol. 1991 May;100(2):144-50.

Bias in interpretation of ambiguous sentences related to threat in anxiety.

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Department of Psychology, Royal Holloway and Bedford New College, University of London, Egham Hill, Egham Surrey, United Kingdom.


In the 1st of 2 experiments, currently clinically anxious, recovered clinically anxious, and normal control subjects were presented with a mixture of unambiguous and ambiguous sentences; both threatening and nonthreatening interpretations were possible for the latter. A subsequent recognition-memory test indicated that the currently anxious subjects were more likely than normal control and recovered anxious subjects to interpret the ambiguous sentences in a threatening fashion rather than in a nonthreatening fashion. This suggests that the biased interpretation of ambiguity found in currently anxious subjects reflected their anxious mood state. A 2nd experiment established that the difference in interpretative processes between currently anxious and control subjects was not due to response bias and that the interpretative bias was a reasonably general one.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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