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The verbal threat information pathway to fear in children: the longitudinal effects on fear cognitions and the immediate effects on avoidance behavior

journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-07, 18:26 authored by Andy FieldAndy Field, Joanne Lawson, Robin Banerjee
Verbal information has long been assumed to be an indirect pathway to fear. Children (aged 6-8 or 12-13 years) were exposed to threat, positive, or no information about 3 novel animals to see the long-term impact on their fear cognitions and the immediate impact on avoidance behavior. Their directly (self-report) and indirectly (implicit association task) measured attitudes toward the animals changed congruent with the information provided, and the changes persisted up to 6 months later. Verbal threat information also induced behavioral avoidance of the animal. Younger children formed stronger animal-threat and animal-safe associations because of threat and positive verbal information than older children, but there were negligible age effects on self-reported fear beliefs and avoidance behaviors. These results support theories of fear acquisition that suppose that verbal information affects components of the fear emotion.

History

Publication status

  • Published

Journal

Journal of Abnormal Psychology

ISSN

0021-843X

Publisher

American Psychological Association

Issue

1

Volume

117

Page range

214-224

Pages

11.0

Department affiliated with

  • Psychology Publications

Full text available

  • No

Peer reviewed?

  • Yes

Legacy Posted Date

2012-02-06

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    University of Sussex (Publications)

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