In this study, we developed a cognitive bias modification procedure that targets inferential style, and tested its effect on hope, mood, and self-esteem. Participants were randomly assigned to training conditions intended to encourage either a negative or a positive inferential style. Participants’ inferences for their failure on a cognitive challenge were congruent with their training condition. Moreover, compared to participants in the positive training condition, those in the negative condition reported less hope and exhibited lower mood and self-esteem following the failure. Finally, the training affected mood and self-esteem indirectly via its effect on participants’ inferences for their failure. These findings provide support for the causal role of inferential style in depressed affect.
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- Inferential style
- cognitive bias modification