Graduation Year

Spring 2014

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Department

Psychology

Reader 1

Judith LeMaster

Reader 2

Alan Hartley

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Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2014 Mary Willa A. Green

Abstract

Social phobia is the fear that one’s behavior in a social situation will be inappropriate and will lead to humiliation and rejection. The purpose of this study was to learn more about how individuals with social phobia direct their attention when they are experiencing social anxiety. Previous research shows that such individuals focus their attention on negative self-evaluation during a feared social event, while other research shows that an individual with social phobia focuses on picking up negative cues in the environment during a stressful event. Fifty participants from a region in Southern California completed the study. Participants completed a computer task in which targets to be identified were preceded by negative or neutral social cues. Participants were then given an anxiety induction before completing another block of the computer task. Results showed that neither level of social anxiety nor manipulation of anxiety affected performance on the computer task. Regardless of social anxiety level, all participants showed slower reaction times when prompted with a negative social cue whether at the target location or elsewhere. Future research should explore the effects of negative social cues on attention.

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