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Remote, online assessment of avoidance learning

Gemma Cameron, Daniel Zuj, Simon Dymond Orcid Logo, Martyn Quigley

Learning and Motivation, Volume: 78, Start page: 101805

Swansea University Authors: Gemma Cameron, Daniel Zuj, Simon Dymond Orcid Logo, Martyn Quigley

  • Accepted Manuscript under embargo until: 9th April 2023

Abstract

Avoidance is an adaptive response to actual or perceived threat. However, persistent avoidance despite low likelihood of threat can become maladaptive and prevent effective psychological treatment. To examine behavioural avoidance, in-person, lab-based threat learning paradigms are typically used wi...

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Published in: Learning and Motivation
ISSN: 0023-9690
Published: Elsevier BV 2022
Online Access: Check full text

URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa59787
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Abstract: Avoidance is an adaptive response to actual or perceived threat. However, persistent avoidance despite low likelihood of threat can become maladaptive and prevent effective psychological treatment. To examine behavioural avoidance, in-person, lab-based threat learning paradigms are typically used with relatively small sample sizes. However, such methods pose issues when in-person testing is difficult. The aim of the current study was therefore to adapt a validated lab-based threat and avoidance conditioning paradigm into an online avoidance learning task to investigate threat expectancy and avoidance remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic. An online fear and avoidance learning task was developed and administered to 119 participants who differed in the opportunity to avoid a safe stimulus. Fear and avoidance conditioning were successful and the opportunity to avoid a known safe stimulus increased threat expectancy and fear for the experimental group, relative to the control group. Such remote delivery paradigms may therefore be useful when evaluating changes in fear and avoidance.
Keywords: online avoidance learning task; remote delivery; anxiety; threat; safety
College: College of Human and Health Sciences
Start Page: 101805