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Title: The role of cognitive biases in the experience of emotion
Author: Jones, Kelly Amanda.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3592 4543
Awarding Body: Manchester Metropolitan University
Current Institution: Manchester Metropolitan University
Date of Award: 2005
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The aim of this programme of research was to explore individual differences in the operation of interpretive and attentional biases within the framework of the fourfactor theory (Eysenck, 1997). Study one examined symptom interpretation and the influence of interpretive biases on future performance expectations in high-anxious, low-anxious and repressor individuals. Contrary to predictions, anxiety symptom interpretation was found not to differ across groups. In addition, high-anxious individuals showed no tendency towards pessimism, whereas repressors were overly-optimistic regarding their future performance. Study two examined the effect of bogus performance feedback on the exhibition of interpretive biases. The results showed that high-anxious individuals were initially overly pessimistic regarding future performance expectations whereas repressors were initially overly optimistic. However, positive feedback eliminated pessimistic expectations in high-anxious individuals and negative feedback eliminated optimistic expectationsin repressors. In study three, the influence of mood on attentional biases to negative and positive emotional stimuli was examined. High-anxious individuals' attentional bias to negative stimuli was apparent only during negative mood. No evidence of an opposite attentional bias in repressors was found irrespective of induced mood. Repressors showed an avoidance of positive stimuli during negative mood. Positive mood exerted no influence on the attentional biases of the groups to either positive or negative stimuli. Study four examined the influence of exercise-induced physiological activity on the attentional biases of high anxious and repressor groups. High anxious individuals demonstrated a bias towards negative stimuli during moderate levels of physiological activity. Repressors did not show avoidance of threat in any of the experimental conditions. However, high levels of exercise-induced physiological activity were associated with an avoidance of positive stimuli in repressors. In summary, the studies demonstrated that cognitive biases of high anxious individuals are not as stable as previously thought and they are influenced by feedback, prevailing mood and physiological activity. The findings fail to support the contention that repressors avoid processing threat. Paradoxically, these individuals appeared more likely to avoid processing positive stimuli. In light of these findings, this research suggests that Eysenck's (1997) four-factor theory requires modification.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available