The present study examined the relationship between worry and threat-related confirmation bias in children. Forty non-clinical children aged 10-12 years completed the child version of the Penn State Worry Questionnaire as a cognitive index of anxiety proneness, and then were administered a modified version of the Wason Selection Task to assess verifying and falsifying reasoning strategies in response to conditional danger rules. Results demonstrated that children with high levels of worry displayed a stronger tendency towards verification and a weaker inclination towards falsification than children with low levels of worry. This finding indicates that confirmation bias occurs in individuals with a general vulnerability to anxiety, and fits well with current theoretical models in which cognitive distortions are viewed as risk factors predisposing to the development of fear and anxiety problems.

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Journal of Child and Family Studies
Department of Psychology

Muris, P., Debipersad, S., & Mayer, B. (2014). Searching for Danger: On the Link Between Worry and Threat-Related Confirmation Bias in Children. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 23(3), 604–609. doi:10.1007/s10826-013-9727-0