Information processing biases in spider phobia: Application of the Stroop and "White Noise" Paradigm

Bunmi O. Olatunji, Craig N. Sawchuk, Thomas C. Lee, Jeffrey M. Lohr, David F. Tolin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The present study examines attentional and implicit memory biases in spider phobic and nonphobic participants. The results showed that spider phobics demonstrated increased interference for neutral, negative, and spider-relevant words on a computerized Stroop task. However, no group differences emerged when adjusting for differences in color-naming speed. Prior exposure to a dead spider did result in higher overall Stroop interference in spider phobics and this appeared to be mostly pronounced for spider-relevant words. Implicit memory bias for threat was examined with a noise judgment task. Participants first heard neutral and spider-relevant sentences and implicit memory for these sentences was evaluated by having participants rate the volume of noise accompanying the presentation of old sentences intermixed with new sentences. An implicit memory bias is indicated if participants rate noise accompanying old sentences as less loud than noise accompanying new sentences. No evidence was found for an implicit memory bias in spider phobics. These findings are discussed in relation to the role of information processing biases in spider phobia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)187-200
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2008


  • Attentional bias
  • Implicit memory
  • Information processing
  • Spider phobia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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