BIS, BAS, and bias: the role of personality and cognition in social anxiety

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Nathan Andrew Kimbrel (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Rosemery Nelson-Gray

Abstract: The primary objective of the current study was to test the hypothesis that cognitive biases for negative and threatening social information mediate the effect of Behavioral Inhibition System (BIS) and Behavioral Approach System (BAS) sensitivity on social anxiety. To test this hypothesis, undergraduate participants (N = 207) were initially asked to complete measures of BIS, BAS, and trait social anxiety. Participants were then informed that they would be required to give a speech at the end of the study. This social-threat induction procedure was immediately followed by the administration of a counter-balanced battery of cognitive tasks. After the participants completed the cognitive battery, their level of state anxiety in response to the speech task was assessed via self-report. Participants were then asked to perform a brief impromptu speech. Latent variables were constructed for BIS, BAS, cognitive bias, and social anxiety. Structural equation modeling was used to test the hypothesis that cognitive biases mediate the effect of BIS and BAS sensitivity on social anxiety. As predicted, the fully-mediated model showed significantly better fit to the data than did several competing models. These results provide strong support for a mediated model of social anxiety and suggest that cognitive biases for negative and threatening social information may be the mechanism through which BIS and BAS sensitivity exert their influence upon social anxiety.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2009
Anxiety, Behavioral Inhibition System, Cognitive Bias, Personality, Social Anxiety, Structural Equation Modeling
Social phobia.

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