Attention training normalises combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder effects on emotional Stroop performance using lexically matched word lists

Maya M. Khanna*, Amy S. Badura-Brack, Timothy J. McDermott, Alex Shepherd, Elizabeth Heinrichs-Graham, Daniel S. Pine, Yair Bar-Haim, Tony W. Wilson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We examined two groups of combat veterans, one with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (n = 27) and another without PTSD (n = 16), using an emotional Stroop task (EST) with word lists matched across a series of lexical variables (e.g. length, frequency, neighbourhood size, etc.). Participants with PTSD exhibited a strong EST effect (longer colour-naming latencies for combat-relevant words as compared to neutral words). Veterans without PTSD produced no such effect, t <.918, p >.37. Participants with PTSD then completed eight sessions of attention training (Attention Control Training or Attention Bias Modification Training) with a dot-probe task utilising threatening and neutral faces. After training, participants—especially those undergoing Attention Control Training—no longer produced longer colour-naming latencies for combat-related words as compared to other words, indicating normalised attention allocation processes after treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1521-1528
Number of pages8
JournalCognition and Emotion
Volume30
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - 16 Nov 2016

Keywords

  • PTSD
  • attention bias modification
  • attention training
  • emotional Stroop
  • lexically matched lists

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