This study examined the predictive power of automatically activated spider-related affective associations for automatic and controllable fear responses. The Extrinsic Affective Simon Task (EAST; De Houwer, 2003) was used to indirectly assess automatic spider fear-related associations. The EAST and the Fear of Spiders Questionnaire (FSQ) were used to predict fear responses in 48 female students from Maastricht University with varying levels of spider fear. Results showed that: (i) the EAST best predicted automatic fear responses, whereas (ii) the FSQ best predicted strategic avoidance behavior. These results suggest that indirect measures of automatic associations may have specific predictive power for automatic fear responses.

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Behaviour Research and Therapy
Department of Psychology

Huijding, J., & de Jong, P. (2006). Specific predictive power of automatic spider-related affective associations for controllable and uncontrollable fear responses toward spiders. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 44(2), 161–176. doi:10.1016/j.brat.2005.01.007