College of Psychology Theses and Dissertations

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Date of Award

1-1-2011

Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PhD)

Department

Center for Psychological Studies

First Advisor

Christian DeLucia

Second Advisor

Craig Marker

Third Advisor

Ana Fins

Keywords

anxiety, associations, implicit, priming, social, subliminal

Abstract

Social anxiety describes a marked and persistent fear of negative evaluation in social performance situations that invariably evokes anxiety. In the following study, three dimensions of perception and information processing in context of social anxiety were covered: distinctions between state and trait anxiety, implicit associations, and subliminal priming. Implicit associations may be defined as unconscious cognitive processes related to one's preferences and biases. Implicit associations may also affect how quickly an individual perceives a threatening situation. Exposure to subliminal stimuli also appears to have an effect on the perception of stress-inducing stimuli. This research examined how subliminal priming may influence implicit associations. Results from the present study suggested that the implicit associations of social anxiety were minimally but significantly related to explicit reports of anxiety. Subliminal priming significantly influenced the participants' implicit associations of social anxiety.

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