Original Article

Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 37, Issue 4, pp 860-871

First online:

Modification of Interpretive Bias: Impact on Anxiety Sensitivity, Information Processing and Response to Induced Bodily Sensations

  • Emma M. MacDonaldAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Ryerson University
  • , Naomi KoernerAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Ryerson University Email author 
  • , Martin M. AntonyAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Ryerson University

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


Anxiety Sensitivity (AS) is the fear of normal, arousal-related bodily sensations due to the belief that they have negative consequences. People with high AS impose negative interpretations on bodily sensations. Research shows that interpretive biases can be modified through cognitive training. In this study, the impact of interpretation training on AS, interpretive biases and reactions to bodily sensations was examined in high AS individuals. Participants (N = 34) were assigned to a training condition designed to induce a benign interpretive bias, or a “sham” control condition. Following training, only participants in the training condition reported significant decreases in overall AS and fear of the social and physical consequences of anxiety. In response to vignettes describing ambiguous sensations, only participants in the training condition reported negative explanations of such sensations as less likely to come to mind. Training did not impact reactions to bodily sensations. Theoretical and methodological implications are discussed.


Anxiety sensitivity Interpretation bias Cognitive bias modification