Exposure to disgust-evoking imagery and information processing biases in blood-injection-injury phobia

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


Biased processing of threat-relevant information is a central construct among contemporary theories of anxiety. However, biases in attentional and memory processes have not been systematically investigated in blood-injection-injury (BII) phobia. Theory has suggested that disgust rather than fear characterizes BII phobia and may mediate processing biases differently. We investigated the effects of a disgust mood induction on attention and memory in BII phobic and nonphobic participants. The Stroop task failed to demonstrate an attentional bias toward medical and disgust words, even under conditions of disgust provocation. However, an implicit memory task showed that BII phobics completed more medical and disgust word stems than nonphobics. These results suggest that BII phobia may be characterized by a similar implicit memory, but not an attentional, bias found in other anxiety disorders. As such, information processing in BII phobia may be qualitatively different from other anxiety disorders. Implications for further research regarding information processing biases in BII phobia are discussed. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Ltd.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)249-257
Number of pages9
JournalBehaviour Research and Therapy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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