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A relationship between weak attentional control and cognitive distortions, explained by negative affect

Booth, Robert W., Sharma, Dinkar, Dawood, Faiqa, Doğan, Melis, Emam, Haidy M. A., Gönenç, Sude S., Kula, N. Aslışah, Mazıcı, Bengisu, Saraçyakupoğlu, Atakan, Shahzad, Asad-Ur-Rehman and others. (2019) A relationship between weak attentional control and cognitive distortions, explained by negative affect. PLOS ONE, 14 (4). Article Number 215399. ISSN 1932-6203. (doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0215399) (KAR id:73806)


People high in negative affect (anxiety or depression) show cognitive distortions, specific thinking errors which contribute to the maintenance of their condition. It is thought that weak attentional control is a risk factor for negative affect and emotional disorders, because weak attentional control exaggerates the expression of attentional bias, another cognitive feature of emotional disorders. We wondered whether weak attentional control might similarly exaggerate the expression of cognitive distortions. In two samples of students from Turkey and the UK, we found that weak attentional control was indeed related to cognitive distortions, but this relationship was explained by both variables’ relationships with negative affect. This suggests that weak attentional control, while related to negative affect, does not necessarily exaggerate all of its cognitive features. There seems to be a limit on the affective consequences of poor attentional control, which may limit its clinical usefulness as a risk factor for emotional disorders.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1371/journal.pone.0215399
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Dinkar Sharma
Date Deposited: 08 May 2019 15:41 UTC
Last Modified: 28 Jul 2022 22:10 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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