Increasing benign interpretations

A review of:
Beard, C., & Amir, N. (2008). A multi-session interpretation modification program: Changes in interpretation and social anxiety symptoms. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 46, 1135-1141.
By Jonathon G. Perle

Beard and Amir (2008) investigated the interpretation of ambiguous social stimuli as threatening in anxious individuals. Their goal was to use a computerized Interpretation Modification Program (IMP) to train socially anxious individuals to judge ambiguous stimuli as benign instead of threatening. Twenty-seven individuals were randomly assigned to the IMP or a control group condition and completed eight computer sessions over four weeks. Results showed the IMP condition to modify interpretations by providing positive feedback when participants made benign interpretations and negative feedback when the participant made a threat interpretation. Findings illustrate the IMP to successfully decrease threat interpretations, increase benign interpretations, and decrease social anxiety symptoms compared to control conditions. Additionally, changes in benign interpretation mediated IMP’s effect on social anxiety. These findings suggest that interpretation modification may have clinical applications for socially anxious individuals; however more testing is needed to investigate all possible aspects and interpretations of IMP.

To cite this review, please use this reference:
Perle, J. G. (2008). Increasing benign interpretations, Psychology Alert (1).