Postevent Rumination and Recall Bias for a Social Performance Event in High and Low Socially Anxious Individuals
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Current theories predict that following a social–evaluative performance, people high in social anxiety will ruminate about the negative features of the event and, in turn, will show a bias toward recalling the negative aspects of the event. In this study participants presented an impromptu speech and were then provided with half positive and half negative feedback on their performance. A free-recall task was used to test immediate recall for the feedback. Participants returned 1 week later and were again tested on recall for the feedback as well as completing a questionnaire indicating the extent to which they engaged in both positive and negative rumination regarding the speech task during the preceding week. Evidence for a negative memory bias in the high socially anxious group (HI) was found at both times, however this negative bias did not increase over time. The hypothesis that the HI group would spend more time than the low socially anxious group ruminating over perceived negative aspects of the speech task was also supported. Social anxiety and depression scores were both uniquely associated with negative rumination, however when controlling for depression the Group × Rumination–Valence interaction became nonsignificant. The HI group did engage in greater levels of overall rumination however, even when depression scores were statistically controlled. There was no significant relationship shown between negative recall bias and negative rumination.
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