| Volume 5, Issue 1, 14-28, 2014 |
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| 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.
Results Experiment 1
Descriptive questionnaire data.
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
Discussion Experiment 2
|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 |