Interaction Effects of Behavioral Inhibition System/Behavioral Activation System and Cost/Probability Biases on Social Anxiety

Risa Ito, Natsuki Kobayashi, Satoshi Yokoyama, Haruna Irino, Yui Takebayashi, Shin Ichi Suzuki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: Social anxiety disorder (SAD) symptoms are maintained by cognitive biases, which are overestimations of the severity and likelihood of negative social events (cost/probability biases), and by sensitivity to rewards and punishments that are determined according to behavioral inhibition/behavioral activation systems (BIS/BAS). Cost/probability biases might activate the behavioral immune system and exacerbate the avoidance of social events. Earlier studies have proposed that low BIS or high BAS decrease SAD symptoms; BIS/BAS may even change the effects of cognitive biases on SAD symptoms. Hence, the current study investigates the interaction effects of BIS/BAS and cost/probability biases on SAD symptoms. Method: Seventy-six Japanese undergraduate students completed the Japanese version of the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale (LSAS), which comprises Fear and Avoidance subscales, the BIS/BAS Scale, and the Social Cost Probability Scale. Results: A multiple regression analysis was performed to examine whether cost/probability biases, BIS/BAS, and their interactions affected SAD symptoms; following this, the main effects of cost bias and BIS were determined for LSAS-Fear (β = 0.64, p < 0.001; β = 0.33, p < 0.01) and LSAS-Avoidance (β = 0.49, p < 0.001; β = 0.35, p < 0.01). The interaction effect between cost bias and BAS was significant for LSAS-Avoidance (β = −0.32, p < 0.05). Simple slope analysis showed that the slope of cost bias was significant for low-BAS individuals (β = 0.77, p < 0.001) but not for high-BAS individuals (β = −0.21, n.s.). The interaction effect between probability bias and BAS was significant for LSAS-Avoidance (β = 0.40, p < 0.01) as well. Further, simple slope analysis revealed that the slope of probability bias was significant for low-BAS individuals (β = −0.53, p < 0.05) but not for high-BAS individuals (β = 0.17, n.s.). Discussion: The study found interesting results with respect to the avoidance of social events. Low-BAS individuals with high cost or low probability biases regarding social events may have a tendency to avoid social events. In contrast, if high-BAS individuals overestimate the cost of social events or underestimate the probability of social events, their anticipation of rewards might prevent them from avoiding social events.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2536
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Volume10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Nov 15

Keywords

  • behavioral activation system
  • behavioral inhibition system
  • cost bias
  • probability biases
  • social anxiety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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