Short-circuiting of threat by experimentally altering cognitive appraisal


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Abstract

Previous research has shown that film-induced threat could be reduced by appropriately designed narratives or sound tracks based on ego-defense theory. This study demonstrated that such a narrative, based on the concepts of denial and reaction formation, is even more effective if presented as an introductory statement before the film begins. It significantly reduced both physiological and self-report evidence of stress reaction. Moreover, the amount of stress reaction and the capacity of the narrative to reduce stress reaction depended upon personality. Ss high in disposition to deny threat as measured by various MMPI scales did indeed deny affective disturbance more than low deniers, while showing greater autonomic evidence of stress reaction. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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