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The Associations between Imageability of Positive and Negative Valence Words and Fear Reactivity

1
Psychology Program, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore 639818, Singapore
2
Department of Psychology and Cognitive Science, University of Trento, 38068 Trento, Italy
3
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA
4
Institute for Fiscal Studies, London WC1E 7AE, UK
5
Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore 308232, Singapore
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 21 December 2020 / Revised: 1 February 2021 / Accepted: 5 February 2021 / Published: 9 February 2021
This study investigated the associations of imageability with fear reactivity. Imageability ratings of four word classes: positive and negative (i) emotional and (ii) propriosensitive, neutral and negative (iii) theoretical and (iv) neutral concrete filler, and fear reactivity scores—degree of fearfulness towards different situations (Total Fear (TF) score) and total number of extreme fears and phobias (Extreme Fear (EF) score), were obtained from 171 participants. Correlations between imageability, TF and EF scores were tested to analyze how word categories and their valence were associated with fear reactivity. Imageability ratings were submitted to recursive partitioning. Participants with high TF and EF scores had higher imageability for negative emotional and negative theoretical words. The correlations between imageability of negative emotional words and negative theoretical words for EF score were significant. Males showed stronger correlations for imageability of negative emotional words for EF and TF scores. High imageability for positive emotional words was associated with lower fear reactivity in females. These findings were discussed with regard to negative attentional bias theory of anxiety, influence on emotional systems, and gender-specific coping styles. This study provides insight into cognitive functions involved in mental imagery, semantic competence for mental imagery in relation to fear reactivity, and a potential psycholinguistic instrument assessing fear reactivity. View Full-Text
Keywords: mental imagery; fear reactivity; emotion recognition; emotion regulation; propriosensitive mental imagery; fear reactivity; emotion recognition; emotion regulation; propriosensitive
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MDPI and ACS Style

Raghunath, B.L.; Mulatti, C.; Neoh, M.J.-Y.; Bornstein, M.H.; Esposito, G. The Associations between Imageability of Positive and Negative Valence Words and Fear Reactivity. Psychiatry Int. 2021, 2, 32-47. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/psychiatryint2010003

AMA Style

Raghunath BL, Mulatti C, Neoh MJ-Y, Bornstein MH, Esposito G. The Associations between Imageability of Positive and Negative Valence Words and Fear Reactivity. Psychiatry International. 2021; 2(1):32-47. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/psychiatryint2010003

Chicago/Turabian Style

Raghunath, Bindiya L., Claudio Mulatti, Michelle J.-Y. Neoh, Marc H. Bornstein, and Gianluca Esposito. 2021. "The Associations between Imageability of Positive and Negative Valence Words and Fear Reactivity" Psychiatry International 2, no. 1: 32-47. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/psychiatryint2010003

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