New Research From Clinical Psychological Science

Read about the latest research published in Clinical Psychological Science:

Are Different Forms of Repetitive Negative Thinking Associated With Interpretation Bias in Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Depression?
Charlotte Krahé, Jessica Whyte, Livia Bridge, Sofia Loizou, and Colette R. Hirsch

Repetitive negative thinking is prevalent in generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), which might be maintained by an interpretation bias (i.e., the tendency to interpret ambiguous information negatively). Krahé and colleagues explored the relationship between interpretation bias and two forms of repetitive negative thinking — worry and rumination — in participants with GAD, depression, or neither disorder. To measure their interpretation bias, participants formed sentences using words randomly presented and that could create a negative or a positive sentence, and they read ambiguous scenarios and chose whether negative or positive events matched it. Participants also completed a task designed to measure their negative thought intrusions as well as self-reported measures of rumination, worry, and depression and anxiety symptoms. Participants with a higher negative-interpretation bias were also more likely to show repetitive negative thoughts, worry, and rumination. Participants with GAD or depression had a higher negative-interpretation bias than participants with neither, although participants with GAD were more likely to report worry, and participants with depression were more likely to report rumination. These findings support a relationship between interpretation bias and repetitive negative thinking, but the role of interpretation bias in the maintenance of repetitive negative thinking remains to be investigated, the authors say.

Blunted Neural Reward Responsiveness in Children With Recent Suicidal Ideation
Aliona Tsypes, Max Owens, and Brandon E. Gibb

To study the components or stages of reward processing that might be impaired in children with suicidal thoughts, Tsypes and colleagues examined the brain responses to rewards of 7- to 11-year-old children with a history of recent suicidal ideation or with no recent suicidal ideation. Children completed a reward task in which they chose one of two doors that could make them lose or gain money. Participants’ electroencephalographic activity was measured during the reward task, so that the Reward Positivity component (RewP; in this study, a difference in brain activation between loss and gain and thus a neural measure of reward sensitivity) could be calculated. Results indicated that children with recent suicidal ideation showed less reward sensitivity than children with no recent suicidal ideation. This effect appeared to be driven mostly by how children with suicidal thoughts responded to their losses, suggesting that losses might be more salient for children who think about suicide. These findings might contribute to improving the identification, treatment, and prevention of suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

Lateral Eye Movements Do Not Increase False-Memory Rates: A Failed Direct-Replication Study
Kevin van Schie and Arne Leer

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Eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is a treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In EMDR, patients recall a traumatic memory while making horizontal eye movements. EMDR reportedly reduces the vividness of traumatic memories and their emotional content. However, in a 2018 study, Houben and colleagues reported that an eye-movement intervention resulted in increased susceptibility to misinformation and higher rates of false memories.  In this study, van Schie and Leer replicated the procedure of Houben et al. (2018) with a sample 2.5 times larger than the original. Participants watched a video of a car crash caused by a texting driver and reported the vividness and emotionality of the event. Afterward, some participants performed the eye movements while recalling the event and others looked at a stationary dot while recalling. Next, participants reported vividness and emotionality again and read an eyewitness narrative containing false information about the event in the video. After a short delay, participants answered questions about the video’s details. Contrary to the results of Houben et al. (2018), the current findings indicated that eye movements did not increase false memories and did not reduce memory for the correct details of the video or memory vividness and emotionality. Van Schie and Leer consider random variation in sampling or measurement or other methodological issues as possible causes for the discrepancy of results and argue that only more direct replications will clarify the effects of eye movements on memory.

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