ISSN 2043-8087
Journal of Experimental Psychopathology
 Volume 5, Issue 1, 14-28, 2014
Abstract  E-mail Abstract   Article Download as PDF 
Return to Issue List 
Free Article You See What You Fear: Spiders Gain Preferential Access to Conscious Perception in Spider-Phobic Patients

Antje B. M. Gerdes(a),(b) & Georg W. Alpers(a),(c)
(a) Chair of Clinical Psychology, Biological Psychology and Psychotherapy, School of Social Sciences, University of Mannheim, Germany
(b) Department of Psychology, University of Wurzburg, Germany
(c) Otto-Selz Institute, University of Mannheim, Germany

Volume 5, Issue 1, 2014, Pages 14-28

In phobic individuals, behavioral responses to phobia-related cues are facilitated and brain responses are augmented. It has rarely been investigated whether this preferential processing is accompanied by an altered conscious perception of phobia-related cues. We used binocular rivalry to investigate conscious perception of phobia-related cues in phobic individuals. 21 spider-phobic patients and 20 non-anxious control participants viewed pictures of spiders or flowers, each paired with a neutral pattern under conditions of binocular rivalry. Spider-phobic patients more often reported that they saw spider pictures as the first percept, and the total duration of seeing spider percepts was significantly longer in patients than in non-anxious participants. A second experiment was conducted to rule out that these differences were caused by different response criteria. Results support the validity of self-report in Experiment 1. In sum, predominance of phobia-related cues in binocular rivalry provides evidence that phobia-related cues gain preferential access to visual awareness in phobic individuals.

Table of Contents
Experiment 1: Binocular Rivalry
  Material and apparatus.
  Data reduction.
  Statistical analyses.
 Results Experiment 1
  Descriptive questionnaire data.
  Stimulus ratings.
  Initial percept during rivalry.
  Cumulative duration of percepts during rivalry.
  Latency of initial percept.
 Discussion Experiment 1
Experiment 2: Response Validation
 Method Experiment 2
  Material and apparatus.
 Results Experiment 2
  Stimulus ratings.
  Response criteria.
 Discussion Experiment 2
General Discussion

Correspondence to
Prof. Dr. Georg W. Alpers, University of Mannheim, Chair of Clinical Psychology, Biological Psychology and Psychotherapy, Postbox 103462, D-68131 Mannheim, Germany.

Spider Phobia, Binocular Rivalry, Phobia-related Pictures, Multistable Visual Perception

Received 8 Nov 2012; Revised 21 May 2013; Accepted 23 May 2013; In Press 16 Oct 2013

Bookmark and Share

Related articles by AUTHORS
None Found

Related articles by KEYWORDS
None Found

© Copyright 2009-2016 Textrum Ltd . All rights reserved. Published in the UK. - Contact Us Advertise | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use