EVENT: CARE Tales from Peru
|CARE Tales from Peru : Assessing the relationship between attentional control and attentional bias in trait anxiety.
Speaker: Patrick Clarke
Title: Examining the Functional Role of the Prefrontal Cortex in Attentional Bias Acquisition: Evidence from tDCS
Biased attention to threatening information is consistently implicated in the development and maintenance of anxiety pathology. Neurocognitive models of anxiety suggest that biased attention for threat is influenced by both a stimulus-driven threat-detection system, associated with the amygdala, and an attentional control inhibitory pathway, associated with the lateral prefrontal cortex. Consistent with neurocognitive models of anxiety-related selective attention, imaging research has directly implicated the lPFC in the modification of biased attention for threat, however no studies to date have sought to directly assess whether enhancing cortical excitability in the lPFC will also enhance the modification of attentional bias. The principal aim of the present study was to assess the degree to which increasing excitation of the lateral prefrontal cortex would serve to enhance the acquisition of an attentional bias either towards or away from threat in response to an attention bias modification procedure. Participants were delivered either attend threat or avoid threat attention bias modification training while receiving active or sham trans-cranial direct current stimulation to the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. Results indicate that there was more evidence of an acquired attentional bias in the targeted direction for those in the active tDCS condition than those in the sham condition, consistent with the role of this brain area in facilitating change in patterns of biased attention for threat. These findings hold significant implications for neurocognitive models of threat processing and also highlight possible applied benefits for tDCS to enhance modification of biased attention in clinical interventions.
Speaker: Julian Basanovic
Title: Assessing the relationship between attentional control and attentional bias in trait anxiety.
Current cognitive theories of anxiety posit that heightened anxiety vulnerability is characterised by anomalies in attentional processing. Studies into attentional biases in anxious populations have shown that high anxious persons have a propensity to focus attentional resources on negative information more so than non-anxious persons (Bar-Haim, Lamy, Pergamin, Bakermans-Kranenburg, & van IJzendoorn, 2007). Further, more recent research has shown that high anxious persons exhibit deficient control of attentional resources, resulting in new contemporary theories such as Attentional Control Theory (Eysenck, Derakshan, Santos, & Calvo, 2007). However while both these anxiety-linked anomalies are associated with attentional processing of stimuli, the exact relationship between these two anomalies remains unknown, the understanding of which has both theoretical implications for the aetiology of anxiety vulnerability and practical applications in areas such as cognitive bias modification research.
Through novel methodologies which aimed to provide measures of both attentional control and attentional bias in the same task, utilising the same stimuli and temporal parameters, the current project was able to explore the nature of relationship between attentional control and attentional bias without the confound of employing differing task parameters in measuring each construct. This new methodology involved the presentation of emotional-neutral image pairs, with the requirement for participants to discriminate the orientation of a target probe appearing behind one of the images. Trials either gave instruction beforehand as to the location of the target probe, with the aim to measure the ability of participants to move attention between stimuli (attentional control), or gave no instruction, with the aim to measure the tendency for participants to move attention between stimuli (attentional bias). The methodology was able to obtain effects of both attentional control and attentional bias, and the current presentation will discuss the nature of the observed effects with the aim of better understanding the relationship between attentional control and attentional bias in anxiety.
Speaker: Bronwyn Milkins
Title: Altering Sleep-Related Worry and Sleep Disturbance through Targeted Attention Bias Modification
Attention Bias Modification (ABM) is an emerging psychotherapeutic approach which seeks to target low level patterns of cognition implicated in the development and maintenance of psychopathology. Lab-based studies initially demonstrated that the induction of an attentional bias away from threat serves to acutely attenuate emotional vulnerability in response to a contrived stressor. Subsequent research has sought to determine the potential clinical benefits beyond the lab by delivering ABM to patients at pre-determined intervals across a period of days or weeks in an attemptwith the aim to produce an enduring change in selective attention. While such studies have delivered promising results, it is possible that the ability of ABM to produce transient reductions in anxiety vulnerability at targeted points in time may be equally important in its potential clinical utility. In the present study we sought to examine whether an internet-delivered attention bias modification (ABM) procedure, completed at a targeted point in time, could exert a transient impact on worry that would serve to also mitigate sleep difficulties. Individuals reporting high levels of sleep-related worry and sleep disturbance completed either an ABM task or a no-ABM control task before sleep on alternating nights across four days (i.e., ABM, no-ABM, ABM, no-ABM) in Study one, and across six days in Study two. Across the two studies it was found that participants reported shorter sleep-onset latency, less pre-sleep arousal and better sleep quality on nights when they had completed the ABM task as compared to nights when they had completed the no-ABM control task. This outcome highlights the potential benefits of delivering ABM at targeted points in time when biased attention, anxiety, and worry are likely to be most problematic. Implications will consider whether the optimal delivery of ABM may involve more discrete targeting of times and situations where attentional vigilance is most likely to be detrimental to adaptive functioning.
Patrick Clarke, Julian Basanovic, Bronwyn Milkins
Bayliss Lecture Theatre, Chemistry, G33
Tue, 13 Aug 2013 13:00
Tue, 13 Aug 2013 14:00
Elizabeth Thompson <[email protected]>
Wed, 28 Aug 2013 15:26
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