Category: Cognitive Science / Cognitive Processes

Symposium

Eye-Gaze Contingent Attention Training: The Causal Role of Attentional Mechanisms in Emotion Regulation Processes

Friday, November 17
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
Location: Sapphire Ballroom E & F, Level 4, Sapphire Level

Keywords: Attention | Emotion Regulation | Neurocognitive Therapies
Presentation Type: Symposium

Background: This study used a novel eye-gaze contingent attention training (ECAT) to test the prediction that attentional control mechanisms are involved in emotional regulation processes of reappraisal and rumination.
Methods: Sixty-six undergraduates were randomly assigned to either the control or the active training condition of the ECAT, comprising an interpretation task. Participants in the active condition were instructed to allocate attention toward positive words to efficiently create positive interpretations (i.e., implementing attentional control) while they were provided with gaze-contingent feedback on their viewing behavior. Participants in the control condition freely generated emotional interpretations without receiving gaze-contingent feedback. Transfer to attention biases, reappraisal success and state rumination was evaluated using an engagement-disengagement task and an emotion regulation paradigm which were administered before and after the training.
Results: The training condition led to an implementation of attentional control, F(1,64)=63.55, p=.001, partial eta square=.50, and resulted in beneficial effects on the transfer tasks. Specifically, analyses supported serial indirect effects with larger attentional control implementation in the active ECAT leading: 1) to increased sustained attention on positive over negative information, c=.44 (SE=.22), 95%-CI: [.0298, .8676], in turn predicting greater reappraisal success to down-regulate negative emotions, c= -.05 (SE=.04), 95%-CI: [-.1866, -.0029], and 2) to larger reductions in state rumination after viewing negative scenes, c= -.44, (SE=.21), 95%-CI: [-.8583, -.0287].
Conclusions: Our results highlight the importance of considering attentional control mechanisms in understanding (and treating impaired) emotion regulation processes. These findings provide an important step toward the use of personalized delivery of attention training to build resources of resilience and well-being.

Alvaro Sanchez

Post-Doctoral Researcher
Ghent University

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