The continuing goal of the project is to study neurotic anxiety and fear, its development, assessment of effects on health and performance, and therapeutic modification. The current focus of this project is emotional imagery. A theoretical conception of this phenomenon has been developed, based on research and scholarship in the fields of Cognitive Psychology and Psychophysiology. The image is viewed as an information structure in the brain which may be assessed through the measurement of propositionally defined, patterns of physiological arousal. Experiments are proposed which will explicate the roles of instigating text structure, imagery training, individual differences in imagery ability, suggestibility, trait anxiety, and type of neurotic disorder in determining the quality and intensity of imagery experience. A focus of this analysis is on the study of emotion as it is instigated through imagery instructions in a therapeutic context. Our broad purpose is to describe the conditions under which affective reactions are evoked by symbolic stimuli and to explore the mechanism by which emotional imagery is the vehicle of emotional behavior change.

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National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
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University of Florida
Sch Allied Health Professions
United States
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McTeague, Lisa M; Lang, Peter J; Wangelin, Bethany C et al. (2012) Defensive mobilization in specific phobia: fear specificity, negative affectivity, and diagnostic prominence. Biol Psychiatry 72:8-18
Lang, Peter J; Davis, Michael (2006) Emotion, motivation, and the brain: reflex foundations in animal and human research. Prog Brain Res 156:3-29
Smith, J Carson; Bradley, Margaret M; Lang, Peter J (2005) State anxiety and affective physiology: effects of sustained exposure to affective pictures. Biol Psychol 69:247-60
Bradley, Margaret M; Moulder, Brad; Lang, Peter J (2005) When good things go bad: the reflex physiology of defense. Psychol Sci 16:468-73
Sabatinelli, Dean; Flaisch, Tobias; Bradley, Margaret M et al. (2004) Affective picture perception: gender differences in visual cortex? Neuroreport 15:1109-12
Cuthbert, Bruce N; Lang, Peter J; Strauss, Cyd et al. (2003) The psychophysiology of anxiety disorder: fear memory imagery. Psychophysiology 40:407-22
Shapira, Nathan A; Liu, Yijun; He, Alex G et al. (2003) Brain activation by disgust-inducing pictures in obsessive-compulsive disorder. Biol Psychiatry 54:751-6
Bradley, Margaret M; Sabatinelli, Dean; Lang, Peter J et al. (2003) Activation of the visual cortex in motivated attention. Behav Neurosci 117:369-80
Sloan, Denise M; Bradley, Margaret M; Dimoulas, Eleni et al. (2002) Looking at facial expressions: dysphoria and facial EMG. Biol Psychol 60:79-90
Junghofer, M; Bradley, M M; Elbert, T R et al. (2001) Fleeting images: a new look at early emotion discrimination. Psychophysiology 38:175-8

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