Different attention biases for ruminators and worriers.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingMeeting abstract (Book)


This study aims to investigate whether the attention biases associated with affective disorders also exist at a subclinical level. Several studies have shown that depressed persons have an impaired ability to divert their attention away from negative information. Anxious persons, on the other hand, have an attention bias towards threat-related material at earlier stages of information processing. One of the transdiagnostic characteristics these affective disorders have in common at a subclinical level is persistent negative thinking. In depression, this persistent negative thinking is called rumination. In anxiety disorders, this process is called worrying. We investigated the association between rumination, worrying and attention biases in an undergraduate sample (N= 53), using two different versions of the exogenous cueing tasks (ECT). In the first ECT, cues were negative and positive personality traits. In the second ECT, cues were negative and positive words related to themes respondents frequently worry about. Results showed that only ruminators have difficulties to disengage their attention away from negative personality traits. There were no attention biases for worriers, and no attention biases towards worry-related cues. Potential clinical implications are further discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 18th Meeting of European Society for Cognitive Psychology,
Publication statusPublished - 2013
EventUnknown -
Duration: 1 Jan 2013 → …


Period1/01/13 → …


  • persistent negative thought, attentional control


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