University of Surrey

Test tubes in the lab Research in the ATI Dance Research

The Role of Inferential Confusion in Social Anxiety: A Quasi-Experimental Study.

Jensch, Graham. (2014) The Role of Inferential Confusion in Social Anxiety: A Quasi-Experimental Study. Doctoral thesis, University of Surrey (United Kingdom)..

Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike.

Download (7MB) | Preview


1.1 OBJECTIVE Inferential confusion is a reasoning process observed in obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) which is defined by a distrust of reality-based information in favour of imagined possibilities. Studies have shown inflated self-reported inferential confusion in mixed-anxiety populations. The current study hypothesised that individuals high in social anxiety (HSA) would be more influenced by possibility-based information than those low in social anxiety (LSA). 1.2 DESIGN A quasi-experimental design was utilised. Participants completed the Inference Processes Task (IPT) that required them to make probability-based judgements (inferences) based upon possibility- and reality-based information for situations that typically trigger worries regarding social anxiety, OCD, and non-disorder based scenarios. Participants also completed self-report measures of social anxiety, inferential confusion, OCD symptoms, and general distress. 1.3 PARTICIPANTS On the basis of a self-report measure of social anxiety, participants were classified as either high (n = 102) or low (n = 68) in social anxiety. Participants were recruited using online advertisements on internet forums and social media websites. 1.4 Participants in the HS A group doubted significantly more than the LSA group after the introduction of possibility- and reality-based information on the social anxiety-and OCD-based scenarios of the LPT. The groups did not differ regarding the impact of reality or possibility information on the non-disorder based scenario, although both groups were markedly influenced by possibility-based information. The HSA group scored significantly higher than the LSA group on the self-report measure of inferential confusion. 1.5 CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS High levels of social anxiety appeared to be associated with increased reliance upon possibilities and a dismissing of reality in threatening situations, suggesting inferential confusion. This implies that inferential confusion may be the result of a cognitive threat response rather than a symptom of a mental health condition. Future research and treatments implications are discussed.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Divisions : Theses
Authors : Jensch, Graham.
Date : 2014
Additional Information : Thesis (Psych.D.)--University of Surrey (United Kingdom), 2014.
Depositing User : EPrints Services
Date Deposited : 06 May 2020 11:56
Last Modified : 06 May 2020 12:00

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

Information about this web site

© The University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey, GU2 7XH, United Kingdom.
+44 (0)1483 300800