This study explored the effects of positive information and imagery as ways of reducing a verbally installed fear in children. Seventy-two primary school children aged 9-13 years were first exposed to negative information to induce fear of a novel animal, and were then randomly assigned to three interventions: positive information, imagery, or a control condition. Outcome of various interventions was assessed by means of a standardized scale of fear beliefs and an index of confirmation bias (defined as the tendency to search for threat information in relation to the feared stimulus). Results indicated that both positive information and imagery were more effective in reducing fear than the control condition. Some evidence was also obtained showing that positive information was more effective than imagery, which suggests that this intervention represents the most optimal treatment approach when dealing with verbally acquired fears in children.

Childhood fears, Imagery, Positive information, Verbal information transmission
dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jbtep.2010.11.006, hdl.handle.net/1765/22754
Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry: a journal of experimental psychopathology
Department of Psychology

Muris, P.E.H.M, Huijding, J, Mayer, B.N, As, W, & van Alem, S. (2011). Reduction of verbally learned fear in children: A comparison between positive information, imagery, and a control condition. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry: a journal of experimental psychopathology, 42(2), 139–144. doi:10.1016/j.jbtep.2010.11.006