Date of Award

2017

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Psychology

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Yaroslavsky, Ilya

Abstract

Individuals with social anxiety disorder (SAD) and major depressive disorder (MDD) have demonstrated differences in attention bias processing, leading to a differential processing of the world around them. As such, there is a pressing need to further understand these hypothesized attentional biases to lend to improved therapeutic deliveries. The present study utilized a novel eye-tracking paradigm to understand attentional biases in individuals with disorder-specific symptomology of SAD and MDD. A sample of 103 undergraduates completed measures of social anxiety, depression and a novel eye-tracking paradigm. Results showed that a combination of elevated SAD and MDD symptoms lends to a slower disengagement time from negative stimuli when compared to healthy control participants, regardless of negatively valenced stimuli (sad or disgust face). Contrary to expectation, individuals with elevated MDD symptoms did not demonstrate an overall difference in disengagement practices when compared to control participant

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