Krans J, de Bree J, Bryant RA
Memory 2013 Oct;
In social anxiety the psychological self is closely related to the feared stimulus. Socially anxious individuals are, by definition, concerned about how the self is perceived and evaluated by others. As autobiographical memory is strongly related to views of the self it follows that biases in autobiographical memory play an important role in social anxiety. In the present study high (n = 19) and low (n = 29) socially anxious individuals were compared on autobiographical memory bias, current goals, and self-discrepancy. Individuals high in social anxiety showed a bias towards recalling more negative and more social anxiety-related autobiographical memories, reported more current goals related to overcoming social anxiety, and showed larger self-discrepancies. The pattern of results is largely in line with earlier research in individuals with PTSD and complicated grief. This suggests that the relation between autobiographical memory bias and the self is a potentially valuable trans-diagnostic factor.