A Meta-Analysis of Bias at Baseline in RCTs of Attention Bias Modification: No Evidence for Dot-Probe Bias Towards Threat in Clinical Anxiety and PTSD


It is widely believed that anxiety is characterized by a tendency to orient attention specifically toward threatening information and that this tendency (called attention bias) can be measured using a computer task called the “dot-probe task.” Over the past decade, studies have tested whether a training version of this task can be used to modify bias, which might then be used as a new treatment (Attention Bias Modification). We analyzed levels of attention bias measured before participants started the modification training in 13 studies enrolling 1,005 diagnosed anxious patients. We found no evidence that clinically anxious people are characterized by attention bias toward threat.

Sam Parsons
Sam Parsons
Postdoctoral Research Associate

Researcher, Open Science Enthusiast, Lovable Bawbag