The present study made an attempt to induce fear-related reasoning biases by providing children with negative information about a novel stimulus. For this purpose, non-clinical children aged 9-12 years (N = 318) were shown a picture of an unknown animal for which they received either negative, ambiguous, positive, or no information. Then children completed a series of tests for measuring various types of reasoning biases (i.e., confirmation bias and covariation bias) in relation to this animal. Results indicated that children in the negative and, to a lesser extent, the ambiguous information groups displayed higher scores on tests of fear-related reasoning biases than children in the positive and no information groups. Altogether, these results support the idea that learning via negatively tinted information plays a role in the development of fear-related cognitive distortions in youths.

, , , ,,
Behaviour Research and Therapy
Department of Psychology

Muris, P., Rassin, E., Mayer, B., Smeets, G., Huijding, J., Remmerswaal, D., & Field, A. (2009). Effects of verbal information on fear-related reasoning biases in children. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 47(3), 206–214. doi:10.1016/j.brat.2008.12.002