Moving forward with questions of process and procedure in cognitive bias modification research: three points of consideration

Abstract

There is ongoing debate surrounding the efficacy of Cognitive Bias Modification (CBM) for the reduction of emotional vulnerability. In part, the debate stems from researchers asking different questions of the existing research. Specifically, differences depend on whether researchers were interested in; the clinical effects of CBM procedures (did CBM reduce emotional vulnerability, irrespective of an assessment of bias change?), or the clinical effects of successfully modifying the cognitive bias process of interest via CBM (did CBM change the targeted bias, and did this change in bias predict reductions in emotional vulnerability?). Here, three considerations are raised that, regardless of the research question of interest, have yet to be fully addressed in moving forward with CBM research. First, the need for clarity in study designs to determine which question is being addressed. Second, CBM interventions that routinely produce the intended change in bias need to be developed before addressing whether there is any subsequent change in emotional vulnerability. Third, this relies on developing reliable assessments of bias as an essential foundation for addressing any further questions about processes or procedures.

Publication
Preprint on PsyArXiv