Cognitive Therapy and Research

, Volume 29, Issue 1, pp 29–45 | Cite as

Attentional Bias in Generalized Anxiety Disorder Versus Depressive Disorder

  • Karin Mogg
  • Brendan P. Bradley


This review evaluates evidence of attentional biases in generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and depressive disorder from studies using modified Stroop and visual probe tasks. There appears to be fairly consistent evidence for an attentional bias for external negative cues in GAD, and for the involvement of non-conscious processes in this bias. By contrast, in clinical depression, the evidence for an attentional bias is less robust, despite depressive disorder being commonly associated with high levels of co-morbid anxiety. Where an attentional bias has been found in depressed patients, it seems to occur mainly for self-relevant negative information which is presented under conditions that allow or encourage elaborative processing. Possible explanations for this discrepant pattern of results, and their theoretical and clinical implications are discussed.

Key words

attentional bias generalized anxiety disorder depression modified Stroop task visual probe task 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karin Mogg
    • 1
    • 2
  • Brendan P. Bradley
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.University of SouthamptonSouthamptonUK
  2. 2.Centre for the Study of Emotion and Motivation, School of PsychologyUniversity of SouthamptonUK

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