de Rosnay, M., Cooper, P. J., Tsigaras, N., & Murray, L. (2006). Transmission of social anxiety from mother to infant: An experimental study using a social referencing paradigm. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 44(8), 1165-1175.

In this experiment we investigated the impact of indirect expressions of maternal social anxiety on infant interactions with a stranger. A social referencing paradigm was used in which infants first observed their mothers interacting with a stranger and then interacted with the stranger themselves. Mothers made no direct communicative gestures to the infant concerning the stranger throughout the procedure. There were two experimental conditions experienced by all mother-infant pairs (N = 24; 12 boys)-non-anxious and socially anxious-and there were two male strangers. Infants were between 12 and 14 months (M = 12.8, SD =.76). Order of condition and stranger presentation were counterbalanced. Before testing, mothers, none of whom were significantly socially anxious, were trained to behave in a non-anxious and a socially anxious manner on the basis of clinical and empirical descriptions of social phobia. The results showed that, compared to their responses following their mothers interacting normally with a stranger, following a socially anxious mother-stranger interaction, infants were significantly more fearful and avoidant with the stranger. Infant-stranger avoidance was further modified by infant temperament; high fear infants were more avoidant in the socially anxious condition than low-fear infants. We discuss these findings in light of the possible mechanisms underpinning infant affective and behavioral responsiveness. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

[not in handout, see intranet]

Hiller, W., Leibbrand, R., Rief, W., & Fichter, M. M. (2005). Differentiating hypochondriasis from panic disorder. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 19(1), 29-49.

Hypochondriasis and panic disorder are both characterized by prevalent health anxieties and illness beliefs. We compared 46 patients with hypochondriasis, 45 with panic disorder, and 21 with comorbid hypochondriasis plus panic disorder..... Patients with panic disorder were less pathological than hypochondriacal patients on all subscales of the Whiteley Index (WI) and the Illness Attitude Scales (IAS) except for illness behavior. Patients with hypochondriasis plus panic had higher levels of anxiety, more somatization, more general psychopathology and a trend towards increased health care utilization. Clinicians were able to distinguish between patient groups based upon the tendency of hypochondriacal patients to demand unnecessary medical treatments. These results confirm that hypochondriasis and panic disorder are distinguishable clinical conditions, characterized by generally more psychopathology and distress in hypochondriasis.












Jones, C., Harvey, A. G., & Brewin, C. R. (2007). The organisation and content of trauma memories in survivors of road traffic accidents. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 45(1), 151-162.

We investigated the trauma narratives of 131 road traffic accident survivors prospectively, at I week, 6 weeks, and 3 months post-trauma. At I and 6 weeks, narratives of survivors with acute stress disorder (ASD) or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) were less coherent and included more dissociation content. By 3 months, their narratives also contained more repetition, more non-consecutive chunks, and more sensory words. Traumatic brain injury was associated with a separate characteristic, confusion, at all three time points. Three aspects of narrative organisation at I week-repetition, non-consecutive chunks, and coherence-predicted PTSD severity at 3 months after controlling for initial symptoms. The results suggest both a strong concurrent and predictive relationship between narrative disorganisation and ASD/PTSD but that as people recover from ASD, their narratives do not necessarily become less disorganised. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

[not in handout, see intranet]

Kim, H., Shimojo, S., & O'Doherty, J. P. (2006). Is avoiding an aversive outcome rewarding? Neural substrates of avoidance learning in the human brain. Plos Biology, 4(8), 1453-1461.

  • Avoidance learning poses a challenge for reinforcement- based theories of instrumental conditioning, because an individual may stop experiencing external rewards.
  • One possible account for this is to propose that avoiding an aversive outcome is in itself a reward, and thus avoidance behavior is positively reinforced on each successful trial.
  • We scanned 16 human Ss with fMRI while they performed an choice task, in which on each trial they chose from one of two actions in order to either win money or else avoid losing money.
  • Neural activity in the medial orbitofrontal cortex, was found to increase, not only following receipt of reward, but also following successful avoidance of an aversive outcome.
  • This neural signal may itself act as an intrinsic reward, thereby serving to reinforce actions during instrumental avoidance.