Purposefully Biased Interactions: Reducing Heterosocial Anxiety through Self-Perception Theory


A treatment for heterosocial anxiety based on D. J. Bem's (1972) self-perception theory, involving use of prearranged, purposefully biased interactions with members of the opposite sex, was compared with an imaginal therapy technique and a no-treatment control group. In addition, Ss in treatment groups received either a positive or negative expectancy for treatment outcome. Instruments included the Situation Questionnaire and the State scale of the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. Results for 80 heterosocially anxious college males indicate that although the imaginal technique had a highly significant effect on self-report measures when Ss had a positive expectancy, little happened if they had a negative expectancy. Moreover, the imaginal technique had little or no effect on behavioral and physiological measures with either expectancy condition. The biased interaction technique, unaffected by expectancy, caused significant changes in all 3 modes of responding and for both expectancy conditions. Results suggest that the biased interaction treatment, whereby the focus was on the observation of one's own successful performance in an area in which difficulty is normally encountered, was more effective for reducing anxiety than an imaginal technique in which the focus was on a client's internal states. (37 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).


Psychological Science


Frances M. Montgomery published as Frances M. Haemmerlie

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Article - Journal

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© 1984 American Psychological Association (APA), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 1984