Bias-contingent attention bias modification and attention control training in treatment of PTSD: a randomized control trial

Amit Lazarov, Benjamin Suarez-Jimenez, Rany Abend, Reut Naim, Erel Shvil, Liat Helpman, Xi Zhu, Santiago Papini, Ariel Duroski, Rony Rom, Franklin R. Schneier, Daniel S. Pine, Yair Bar-Haim, Yuval Neria

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Randomized control trials (RCTs) comparing attention control training (ACT) and attention bias modification (ABM) in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have shown mixed results. The current RCT extends the extant literature by comparing the efficacy of ACT and a novel bias-contingent-ABM (BC-ABM), in which direction of training is contingent upon the direction of pre-treatment attention bias (AB), in a sample of civilian patients with PTSD.Methods Fifty treatment-seeking civilian patients with PTSD were randomly assigned to either ACT or BC-ABM. Clinician and self-report measures of PTSD and depression, as well as AB and attention bias variability (ABV), were acquired pre- and post-treatment.Results ACT yielded greater reductions in PTSD and depressive symptoms on both clinician-rated and self-reported measures compared with BC-ABM. The BC-ABM condition successfully shifted ABs in the intended training direction. In the ACT group, there was no significant change in ABV or AB from pre- to post-treatment.Conclusions The current RCT extends previous results in being the first to apply ABM that is contingent upon AB at pre-treatment. This personalized BC-ABM approach is associated with significant reductions in symptoms. However, ACT produces even greater reductions, thereby emerging as a promising treatment for PTSD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2432-2440
Number of pages9
JournalPsychological Medicine
Issue number14
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2019
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We greatly appreciate and thank the patients who agreed to participate in this study. This research was supported by the Stand for the Troops foundation ( and by the National Institute of Mental Health T32-MH020004 (Amit Lazarov) and T32-MH015144 (Benjamin Suarez-Jimenez). The funding agency had no role in the study design; in the collection, analysis and interpretation of data; in the writing of the report; or in the decision to submit the article for publication.

Publisher Copyright:
© Cambridge University Press 2018.


  • Attention bias modification (ABM)
  • attention bias
  • attention control training (ACT)
  • posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • randomized control trial (RCT)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Applied Psychology


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