Table of Contents
ISRN Psychiatry
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 414170, 8 pages
Research Article

A Multiple Case Series Analysis of Six Variants of Attentional Bias Modification for Depression

1Institute of Psychology, Leiden University, Wassenaarseweg 52, 2333 AK Leiden, The Netherlands
2Department of Psychiatry, Leiden University Medical Center, 2333 ZA Leiden, The Netherlands
3Leiden Institute of Brain and Cognition, 2333 ZA Leiden, The Netherlands

Received 25 December 2012; Accepted 3 February 2013

Academic Editors: M. Z. Dernovsek and L. Tamam

Copyright © 2013 Anne-Wil Kruijt et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Attention bias modification (ABM) is a new treatment for affective disorders. A meta-analysis of ABM for anxiety disorders showed that the effect size may be large but the number of studies is low. The working mechanism is still unclear, and little is known about the optimal treatment parameters. ABM for depression is much less studied. A few studies claimed positive effects but the sample sizes are low. Furthermore, the treatment parameters varied widely and differed from the anxiety literature. Aim. To select the most promising version of ABM for depression for further evaluation in clinical trials. Methods. Multiple case series design. We tested six versions of ABM that varied on stimulus duration and training direction. Thirty students with mild to moderate symptoms of depression underwent four sessions of ABM. Change of attentional bias was measured during each session. Generalization of treatment effects and the role of awareness of receiving training were also investigated. Results. None of the investigated versions of ABM had a consistent effect on attentional bias. Changes of attentional bias in individual participants the effects did not generalize to untrained stimuli. Conclusion. It is unlikely that any of these ABM versions will have a specific effect on symptoms in controlled studies.