Behaviorally Inhibited Children Exhibit Changes in Neural Activation and Reductions in Separation Anxiety After Attention Bias Modification

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Recent research from the CAT Lab to be published in Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry investigated how a novel attention training protocol, Attention Bias Modification (ABM), alters neural and behavioral symptoms of anxiety. Children between the ages of 9 and 12 identified as behaviorally inhibited were randomly assigned to complete four sessions of ABM training or a placebo protocol. Children who completed the ABM training exhibited reduced levels of separation anxiety as well as reduced amygdala and insula activation and greater ventrolateral prefrontal cortex activation than did children who completed the placebo protocol. The current results indicate that for behavioral inhibited children ABM may be useful for preventing the emergence of anxiety symptoms.