Attention bias modification via single-session dot-probe training: Failures to replicate

Jonas Everaert*, Cristina Mogoaşe, Daniel David, Ernst H.W. Koster

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Background and objectives Across three experiments we investigated transfer effects of single-session attention bias modification via dot-probe training. Methods In experiment 1, participants received training either toward or away from negative images or no-training, and transfer to an affective task-switching task was examined. In two other experiments, participants were trained to orient attention toward either positive or negative words (experiment 2a) or facial expressions (experiment 2b), and transfer to an interpretation bias task was examined. Results In all experiments, the dot-probe training procedure did not effectively modify biases in attention allocation at the training condition level, but produced a large variability in individual attention bias acquisition within and across conditions. Individual differences in pre-training attention bias and attention bias acquisition were not related to performance on the affective task-switching task or the interpretation tasks. Limitations The present investigations are limited by the lack of effectiveness of ABM at the condition level, the order in which transfer tasks were administered, and the restricted range of affective symptoms that could moderate training and transfer effects. Conclusions The findings from three experiments provided no evidence for single-session dot-probe ABM procedures to effectively manipulate attention bias toward negative, away from negative, or toward positive stimuli at a training condition level. At the individual differences level of analysis, again no evidence was found for transfer of attention training. The observations invite further empirical scrutiny into factors that moderate attentional plasticity in response to dot-probe ABM procedures to optimize the conditions for effective implementation and transfer of training.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-12
JournalJournal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry
Issue numberPart A
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Affective task-switching
  • Attention training
  • Dot-probe
  • Interpretation
  • Transfer


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