Attentional Bias and Training in Social Anxiety Disorder

Fistikci N., Saatcioglu O., Keyvan A., Topcuoglu V.

NOROPSIKIYATRI ARSIVI-ARCHIVES OF NEUROPSYCHIATRY, vol.52, no.1, pp.4-7, 2015 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier


Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most effective treatment modalities for social anxiety disorder (SAD), showing a high level of clinical evidence supporting its effectiveness. On the other hand, lack of the desired benefit from this treatment in some patients causes continuation of the search for new techniques. Recent research studies have focused on attentional bias and attention training in SAD. Attention processes in SAD have been a major target of interest and investigation since the introduction of the first cognitive models explaining SAD. In the first model, it was highlighted that attention was self-focused. The relationship between threatening stimuli and attention was considered in the subsequent models. Attentional bias towards threat may take place in several ways, such as facilitated processing of threat, difficulty in disengaging attention from the threat and avoidance of attention from the threat. After these descriptions regarding the phenomenology of the disorder, treatments to modify attention, processes were developed. In spite of conflicting results, investigations on attentional training are promising. Attention processes, attentional bias and attentional training in SAD are discussed in this review.