Non-anxious college students first performed a semantic-judgement task that was designed to train either threat-related or threat-unrelated interpretations of threat-ambiguous homographs (e.g. mug). Next they performed an ostensibly separate transfer task of constructing personal mental images for single words, in a series that included new, threat-ambiguous homographs. In two experiments, the number of threat-related interpretations in the transfer task significantly increased following threat-related experience during the training phase, compared to other training conditions. We conclude that interpretive biases typically shown by anxious people can be established in non-anxious students in ways that generalize to novel tasks and materials.
John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Hertel, P.T., Mathews, A., Peterson, S., & Kintner, K. (2003). Transfer of training emotionally biased interpretations. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 17(7), 775-784. doi: 10.1002/acp.905
Applied Cognitive Psychology