The effects of positive interpretation bias on cognitive reappraisal and social performance: Implications for social anxiety disorder

Mia Romano, David A. Moscovitch*, Prabhjot Saini, Jonathan D. Huppert

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

People with social anxiety disorder (SAD) lack non-socially anxious individuals' tendency to interpret ambiguous social information in a positively biased manner. To gain a better understanding of the specific in-vivo social consequences of positive interpretation bias, we recruited 38 individuals with SAD and 31 healthy controls (HC) to participate in an in-vivo social task. We tested whether a positive interpretation bias, measured using a sentence completion task, might confer benefits for the adaptive emotion regulation strategy of cognitive reappraisal, and whether such benefits depended on participants’ emotional states. We also examined whether positive interpretation bias might confer additional benefits such as improved self-perceived and observer-rated social performance. In support of prior research, HC participants exhibited a positive interpretation bias on the sentence completion task, whereas participants with SAD did not. Regression analyses revealed that positive interpretation bias predicted greater cognitive reappraisal during social stress, particularly when state positive affect was low. Moreover, positive interpretation bias predicted more positive self-perception of social performance and reduced underestimations of performance relative to observer ratings. These results suggest that positive interpretations of ambiguous social information may be related to increased use of cognitive reappraisal and more positive self-perceptions of social performance.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number103651
JournalBehaviour Research and Therapy
Volume131
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Ltd

Keywords

  • Cognitive reappraisal
  • Emotion regulation
  • Positive affect
  • Positive interpretation bias
  • Social anxiety

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