Shifting our attention to encoding: intervening at the forgotten stage of social information-processing among reactively aggressive youth

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dc.contributor Barth, Joan M.
dc.contributor Klinger, Mark R.
dc.contributor Salekin, Randall T.
dc.contributor Merrill, Edward C.
dc.contributor.advisor Lochman, John E. Young, Laura Elizabeth 2017-03-01T14:37:03Z 2017-03-01T14:37:03Z 2010
dc.identifier.other u0015_0000001_0000469
dc.identifier.other Young_alatus_0004D_10576
dc.description Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
dc.description.abstract Despite decades of research on Social Information-Processing (SIP) based on Dodge's (1986) model, this model's first stage (encoding), in which youth perceive, attend to, and store cues, has long been overlooked. Aggressive youth are believed to engage in encoding errors which further their aggression, but current research addresses these distortions after they have occurred. This is due to their preconscious, involuntary, and automatic nature, which makes their measurement challenging. This study could impact the field of aggression in several ways. First, it introduces a new, precise reaction time(RT) measure of encoding deficits that improves our understanding of what occurs during stage one. Second, it intervenes at the encoding stage for the first time by introducing a cognitive training task for altering youths' encoding deficits. The results have prevention/intervention implications as they illuminate the malleability of encoding deficits. Thirdly, this study's training task could easily be integrated into the aggression treatment milieu. Participants were 60 reactively aggressive youth. A computer-based cognitive task was created from a task used to retrain the selective attention biases of anxious individuals (Dandeneau & Baldwin, 2004). For the experimental group, this task contained 50 pre-training assessment trials, 112 training trials, and 50 post-training assessment trials. Each trial was a 4x4 matrix of happy or angry facial expressions. The child quickly searched for either the one happy target among angry distractors (happy target trials) or the angry target among happy distractors (angry target trials). Assessment trials measured selective attention bias by comparing average RTs on happy vs. angry target trials. All training trials were happy target trials to train youth to notice the happy cues they typically overlooked. The control group completed identical assessment trials. Their training trials were an equivalent computer task wherein they searched matrices of seven-petaled flowers for the five-petaled flower. Results showed that subjects demonstrated a selective attention bias towards aggressive cues on the matrix RT encoding measure. Also, the training task successfully decreased this attention bias in the experimental group by post-training. Implications for SIP assessment and aggression interventions are discussed, as well as possible directions for future studies utilizing these tasks.
dc.format.extent 125 p.
dc.format.medium electronic
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.language English
dc.language.iso en_US
dc.publisher University of Alabama Libraries
dc.relation.ispartof The University of Alabama Electronic Theses and Dissertations
dc.relation.ispartof The University of Alabama Libraries Digital Collections
dc.relation.hasversion born digital
dc.rights All rights reserved by the author unless otherwise indicated.
dc.subject.other Clinical Psychology
dc.subject.other Cognitive Psychology
dc.subject.other Experimental Psychology
dc.title Shifting our attention to encoding: intervening at the forgotten stage of social information-processing among reactively aggressive youth
dc.type thesis
dc.type text University of Alabama. Dept. of Psychology Psychology The University of Alabama doctoral Ph.D.

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