ISSN 2043-8087
Journal of Experimental Psychopathology
 Volume 7, Issue 2, 160-171, 2016
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Free Article Focussing Attention on Oneself Increases the Perception of Being Observed by Others

  Lauren Canvin - University of Oxford
  Magdalena Janecka - University of Oxford
  David Clark - University of Oxford

Volume 7, Issue 2, 2016, Pages 160-171

Patients with Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) often report elevated levels of self-focussed evaluative attention (SFEA), and seem excessively concerned with being observed by others. This study tested whether SFEA increases the perception of being observed by others. A sample of 52 high and 52 low socially anxious participants estimated the percentage of people ‘looking at you’ in several matrices of faces. A control task used matrices of clock. SFEA was manipulated. As predicted, increasing SFEA led to significantly higher estimates of people ‘looking at you’ in both groups. Estimates on the control task were not affected by SFEA, thus the effects appear specific to social stimuli. These findings suggest that the increased levels of SFEA that characterise patients with SAD could contribute to their enhanced perception of being observed by others. The findings have implications for the role of attention training in the treatment of SAD.

Table of Contents
 Participant Characteristics
 Questionnaire Measures
 Stimuli and tasks
  Faces Task.
  Clocks Task.
 Attention Manipulation
 Validation of computer tasks
 Self-Focus Manipulation checks
 Testing of main hypotheses

Correspondence to
Ms Lauren Canvin

social anxiety, social phobia, self-focussed evaluative attention, self-focussed attention, cognitive model, perception of being observed

Received 12 Feb 2015; Revised 11 Dec 2015; Accepted 11 Dec 2015; In Press 7 Feb 2016

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