Genuine memory bias versus response bias in anxiety

Margaret G. Dowens, Manuel G. Calvo

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Low and high trait anxiety undergraduates were presented with physical-threat, ego-threat, positive, and neutral words. Following an orienting task promoting lexical - but not semantic - processing, unexpected free recall or recognition tests were presented. High anxiety participants showed increased correct recall of both types of threat-related words, but also increased incorrect recall (intrusions) and incorrect recognition (false alarms) of these words. Furthermore, participants high in anxiety had reduced sensitivity (d′) for ego-threat words, and reduced cautiousness (β) for physical-threat words. This tendency to report threat-related information regardless of prior presentation suggests that there is a response bias rather than a memory bias in anxiety. In addition, this bias is likely to be mediated by depression insofar as physical-threat information is concerned, although the bias can be attributed to trait anxiety insofar as ego-threat information is concerned.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)843-857
Number of pages15
JournalCognition and Emotion
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Genuine memory bias versus response bias in anxiety'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this