Attentional blink impairment in social anxiety disorder: Depression comorbidity matters

Amanda S. Morrison, Faith A. Brozovich, Shreya Lakhan-Pal, Hooria Jazaieri, Philip R Goldin, Richard G. Heimberg, James J. Gross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background and objectives Difficulties with attentional control have long been thought to play a key role in anxiety and depressive disorders. However, the nature and extent of attentional control difficulties in social anxiety disorder (SAD) are not yet well understood. The current study was designed to assess whether attentional control for non-emotional information is impaired in SAD when taking comorbid depression into account. Methods Individuals with SAD and healthy controls (HCs) were administered an attentional blink (AB) task in which they identified number targets in a rapid serial visual presentation stream of letters. Results Individuals with SAD and current comorbid depression exhibited reduced accuracy to identify a target that fell within the AB window after the presentation of a first target compared to individuals with SAD without current comorbid depression, as well as to HCs. The latter two groups did not differ from each other, and the three groups did not differ in accuracy for the second target when it was presented after the AB window. Limitations Although we included two clinical groups and the sample size for the non-comorbid SAD group was large, the comorbid SAD group was relatively small. Conclusions These results suggest that impaired attentional control among individuals with SAD may be limited to those suffering from current comorbid depression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-214
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry
StatePublished - Mar 15 2016


  • Attentional blink
  • Attentional control
  • Comorbidity
  • Depression
  • Social anxiety disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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