Event Title

The Anxiogenic Effect of Temporal Uncertainty

Mentor 1

Dr. Christine Larson

Location

Union Wisconsin Room

Start Date

29-4-2016 1:30 PM

End Date

29-4-2016 3:30 PM

Description

Intolerance of uncertainty (IU) is a newly studied component of anxiety that suggests the uncertainty surrounding negative future events is more anxiety-provoking than the negative events themselves. IU is typically measured through participants’ startle blink responses while under threat of shock, with larger startle responses during uncertain conditions indicating higher levels of IU and anxiety. Although a great deal of research has been done on uncertainty as a whole, no previous studies attempted to differentiate between responses to different types of uncertainty. The present study aimed to determine if there are differences in startle responses when in a state of either general uncertainty (not knowing if a negatively-perceived future event will occur) or temporal uncertainty (not knowing when a negatively-perceived future event will occur). Startle responses were collected while participants viewed a series of “loading bar” displays in four conditions: certain shock at a known time (Certainty), certain shock at an unknown time (Temporal Uncertainty), uncertain shock at a known time (Occurrence) and no shock at any time. Based on previous literature, the Temporal Uncertainty condition was expected to yield significantly larger startle responses than the Certainty condition. Preliminary analyses indicated a significant main effect of condition, suggesting that the uncertainty of when a shock would be administered was more anxiogenic than the pain associated with the shock itself, and further analyses will be performed to tease apart this relationship. If these findings can be extrapolated to more general negatively-perceived future events, IU could become a key component of determining effective treatments for patients with anxiety disorders.

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Apr 29th, 1:30 PM Apr 29th, 3:30 PM

The Anxiogenic Effect of Temporal Uncertainty

Union Wisconsin Room

Intolerance of uncertainty (IU) is a newly studied component of anxiety that suggests the uncertainty surrounding negative future events is more anxiety-provoking than the negative events themselves. IU is typically measured through participants’ startle blink responses while under threat of shock, with larger startle responses during uncertain conditions indicating higher levels of IU and anxiety. Although a great deal of research has been done on uncertainty as a whole, no previous studies attempted to differentiate between responses to different types of uncertainty. The present study aimed to determine if there are differences in startle responses when in a state of either general uncertainty (not knowing if a negatively-perceived future event will occur) or temporal uncertainty (not knowing when a negatively-perceived future event will occur). Startle responses were collected while participants viewed a series of “loading bar” displays in four conditions: certain shock at a known time (Certainty), certain shock at an unknown time (Temporal Uncertainty), uncertain shock at a known time (Occurrence) and no shock at any time. Based on previous literature, the Temporal Uncertainty condition was expected to yield significantly larger startle responses than the Certainty condition. Preliminary analyses indicated a significant main effect of condition, suggesting that the uncertainty of when a shock would be administered was more anxiogenic than the pain associated with the shock itself, and further analyses will be performed to tease apart this relationship. If these findings can be extrapolated to more general negatively-perceived future events, IU could become a key component of determining effective treatments for patients with anxiety disorders.