فرآیندهای شناختی در اضطراب اجتماعی: اثرات خود تمرکز، نشخوار فکری و پردازش مقدماتی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|31271||2000||15 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||6444 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Behaviour Research and Therapy, Volume 38, Issue 3, March 2000, Pages 243–257
We examined three cognitive processes hypothesized to contribute to biases in judgments about and memory for social events: self-focused attention, post-event rumination, and anticipatory processing. Socially anxious (N=58) and nonanxious (N=58) subjects participated in a social interaction and then completed measures of self-focused attention and anxiety-related physiological sensations and behavior. The next day, subjects completed measures that assessed frequency of post-event processing and recall of the interaction. The results indicated that selective attention to negative self-related information led to biases in social judgments and recollections and that post-event processing contributed to the recall of negative self-related information. No evidence was found for selective retrieval of negative self-related information prior to a second social interaction. The results reconcile inconsistent previous findings related to memory bias in social anxiety.
Cognitive theories of social phobia are based on the general concept of biased processing of social information (e.g., Beck & Emery, 1985 and Clark & Wells, 1995). Such models have three central tenets: (a) that patients with social phobia selectively attend to negative information about social situations; (b) that this leads to biases in their judgments and recollections of social events and (c) that these biases exacerbate and perpetuate social fears. Although there is growing empirical support for this approach, several key features of the cognitive perspective remain to be confirmed, particularly in regards to the existence of memory bias and the identification of the specific cognitive operations that contribute to cognitive distortions. Clark & Wells, (1995) provided a detailed description of the way in which biased processing is believed to occur. According to these writers, in social situations, social phobics focus on monitoring themselves, particularly their anxiety-related internal sensations, thoughts and behaviors. Self-focused attention increases the salience of this negative self-related information at the expense of external information about the social situation. This not only exacerbates anxiety, but leads to negative biases in the person's social judgments both during and after the situation, particularly about the person's own performance. The adoption of safety behaviors contributes to this process by increasing anxiety and self-focused attention and preventing the disconfirmation of negative beliefs. Following social situations, social phobics engage in post-event processing in which they review the interaction in detail. According to Clark and Wells, (1995), this postmortem rumination is likely to center on anxious feelings and negative self-perceptions because they “were processed in detail… and hence were strongly encoded in memory” (Clark & Wells, 1995, p. 74). The end result of this is that the person recalls the interaction as more negative than it really was. Prior to subsequent social events, the social phobic engages in anticipatory processing in which their thoughts “tend to be dominated by recollections of past failures” and predictions of poor performance and thus, the cycle begins again. One unique feature of this model is the delineation of several distinct cognitive operations, most notably self-focused attention and anticipatory and post-event processing, that are proposed to contribute to social anxiety. Self-focused attention occurs during social events and highlights specific types of information. Post-event rumination occurs between social events and reactivates memory traces, which results in deeper processing of the information recalled. Anticipatory processing occurs prior to social events and evokes the negative memories and predictions that begin the anxious cycle. Thus, all three operations contribute to biased processing of social information and hence social anxiety, although at different points in time and in different ways. Some aspects of this model have empirical support. Research has demonstrated that social scrutiny increases self-focused attention in socially anxious and social phobic individuals (e.g., Buss, 1980, Alden, Teshuck, & Tee, 1992 and Woody, 1996) and it is well established that self-focused attention heightens awareness of negative emotional states (e.g., Buss, 1980). Similarly, socially anxious and social phobic individuals are known to display negative biases in their self and social judgments (e.g., McEwan & Devins, 1983, Lucock & Salkovskis, 1988, Rapee & Lim, 1992, Stopa & Clark, 1993 and Alden & Wallace, 1995). However, the extent to which biased social judgments are due to self-focused attention, rather than other factors such as a general negative response set or the other cognitive operations identified by Clark and Wells, has yet to be established. If judgmental biases arise as a result of self-focused attention, one would expect individuals who display more extensive self-directed attention to display greater distortions in their social judgments. Another unanswered question is whether self-focused attention leads to biases in memory for the social event. Although judgment and memory are clearly interrelated, they are not identical processes. For example, one may remember many pieces of information about a social event, yet base one's general judgments (e.g., “How well did I handle that situation?”) on only a few of these (e.g., a single inept comment). Therefore, demonstrating that socially anxious individuals discount their behavior in a social situation does not necessarily mean that they have stored only negative information about the event. Relatively few studies have examined memory biases in socially anxious populations and these have produced inconsistent results. The strongest evidence for such biases comes from a study by Hope, Heimberg, and Klein (1990), which examined recall following a social interaction. These researchers found that socially anxious subjects had less accurate recall of partner- and topic-related information than control subjects did. Support is also provided by Lundh and Ost (1996), who concluded that generalized social phobics displayed selective recall of pictures depicting negative as opposed to positive faces. However, this study did not control for the possibility that social phobics may have a general negative response set that affected their ratings. Weaker support is provided by O'Banion and Arkowitz (1977), who found a statistically nonsignificant trend for socially anxious subjects to recall more negative than positive feedback. In contrast to these three studies, Rapee, McCallum, Melville, Ravenscroft and Rodney (1994) conducted four studies that examined implicit and explicit memory on a variety of semantic and other memory retrieval tasks and found no differences between social phobic and control subjects. It is difficult to compare these studies because they measured recall for different types of information (e.g., word lists, experimenter feedback), which also varied in terms of locus (internal versus external), valence (neutral versus positive or negative) and situational complexity during encoding. In addition, with the exception of the autobiographical memory retrieval study by Rapee et al., (1994, study 4), memory was assessed immediately after the interaction or stimulus presentation. It may be that more extensive memory biases would emerge if time was allowed for memory decay, i.e., assessed via delayed recall. It is also worth noting that some researchers have argued that biases in memory are associated with depression as opposed to anxiety (Mathews & MacLeod, 1994). Thus, studies of memory bias in social anxiety must control for the effects of comorbid depression and this has not always been done. Even if memory biases can be identified, it remains to be established whether these stem from self-focused attention, as proposed by cognitive writers. Only one study examined self-focused attention in this regard. Hope et al. (1990) assessed public self-awareness and found a significant, albeit modest, correlation with memory omissions for external social cues. However, public self-awareness was not associated with overall recall accuracy in socially anxious subjects and was actually associated with better recall in nonanxious subjects. Thus, although cognitive perspectives on social anxiety imply that self-focused attention should lead to biased recall of social events, this relationship remains to be established. Clark and Wells, (1995) suggest that both anticipatory and post-event processing play a role in social anxiety. Consistent with this suggestion, socially anxious individuals have been found to engage in negative thoughts and predictions prior to social interactions, which likely contribute to their anxiety (e.g., Dodge, Hope, Heimberg & Becker, 1988). However, the extent to which anticipatory processing also involves recollections of past failure remains to be determined. If this is the case, one would expect that social anticipation would lead to selective retrieval of negative information about past social events. In a similar vein, although socially anxious and social phobic individuals report ruminating after social events (e.g., Fairbrother, Rachman & Mitchell, 1998), no work of which we are aware has examined the relationship between post-event processing and judgmental or recall bias. Such a relationship could take one of three forms. First, rumination may simply perpetuate existing biases by keeping memory traces active. On the other hand, further processing may increase the salience of negative self-related information, thereby exacerbating initial biases. Both of these patterns are in keeping with the Clark–Wells' model. In contrast, it is also conceivable that prolonged processing of an anxiety-provoking event might help some individuals resolve their concerns. Overall, the relationships between anticipatory- and post-event processing and cognitive biases require further examination.