alexa High Spider Fearfuls can Overcome their Fear in a Virtual Approach-Avoidance Conflict Task | OMICS International | Abstract
ISSN: 2167-1044

Journal of Depression and Anxiety
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Research Article

High Spider Fearfuls can Overcome their Fear in a Virtual Approach-Avoidance Conflict Task

Pauline Dibbets1* and Riet Fonteyne2
1Clinical Psychological Science, Maastricht University, The Netherlands
2KU Leuven - University of Leuven, Belgium
*Corresponding Author : Pauline Dibbets
Maastricht University, Clinical Psychological Science
P.O. box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht
The Netherlands
Tel:+31433884015
E-mail: [email protected]
Received: January 12, 2015; Accepted: April 17, 2015; Published: April 20, 2015
Citation: Dibbets P, Fonteyne R (2105) High Spider Fearfuls can Overcome their Fear in a Virtual Approach-Avoidance Conflict Task. J Depress Anxiety 4:182. doi:10.4172/2167-1044.1000182
Copyright: © 2015 Dibbets P, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Abstract

Spider-fearful persons are more reluctant to approach spiders and, if possible, tend to avoid their feared animal. These behavioural tendencies play a major role in the maintenance of their phobia. The present study is the first to motivate spider fearfuls approaching spiders in an approach-avoidance conflict. This was accomplished by using a virtual reality paradigm in which the participants had the choice between a safe, low rewarding, stimulus and a conflict symbol that signaled the occurrence of a high reward (80% of the trials) or a spider (20% of the trials). The results indicate that the virtual spider was capable of eliciting a strong fear response and that spider fearfuls can overcome their avoidance tendency in favour of a goal-directed approach response. Though no direct relation was observed between approach behaviour and a reduction in fear, spider fearfuls did report less spider fear, tension and disgust after the task. These results are promising for development of new treatment options for specific phobias.

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