Type of Thesis
Psychology & Neuroscience
Dr. Joanna Arch, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
Dr. Heidi Day, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
Dr. Olivia Miller, Program for Writing and Rhetoric
Social anxiety disorder is a disorder that affects millions of adults worldwide. Past research in the field has shown differences in the generation of episodic detail when analyzing positive autobiographical memories involving social situations of those who are highly socially anxious versus those who are less socially anxious, with those with high social anxiety showing a reduction in the generation of episodic detail when retrieving such memories. However, there has been little research done in the area of prospection, defined as the generation of mental representations of possible futures, and social anxiety disorder. Research has established that memory and prospection engage similar brain regions and based on this link, we hypothesized that those with social anxiety would display less episodic detail in their future imaginings of social scenarios than healthy controls. To test this hypothesis, behavioral data (n = 22 for SAD, n = 24 for healthy controls) was gathered through audio taped interviews of participants describing future scenarios (with either positive or negative valence) and then coded for amount and type of details given in the description. Contrary to the original hypotheses, there was no significant effect of valence by condition, but a potentially novel finding of a large significant main effect of valence was found, with both socially anxious and healthy control participants generating more episodic details for positive events.
Lane, Emily, "Prospection in Social Anxiety Disorder" (2017). Undergraduate Honors Theses. 1380.