Searching for danger: on the link between worry and threat-related confirmation bias in children

P. Muris*, S. Debipersad, B. Mayer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The present study examined the relationship between worry and threat-related confirmation bias in children. Forty non-clinical children aged 10-12 years completed the child version of the Penn State Worry Questionnaire as a cognitive index of anxiety proneness, and then were administered a modified version of the Wason Selection Task to assess verifying and falsifying reasoning strategies in response to conditional danger rules. Results demonstrated that children with high levels of worry displayed a stronger tendency towards verification and a weaker inclination towards falsification than children with low levels of worry. This finding indicates that confirmation bias occurs in individuals with a general vulnerability to anxiety, and fits well with current theoretical models in which cognitive distortions are viewed as risk factors predisposing to the development of fear and anxiety problems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)604-609
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Child and Family Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014


  • Threat-related confirmation bias
  • Worry
  • Children
  • FEAR

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