The effects of expectancy and imagined response to phobic stimuli on fear reduction

J. B. Grayson, T. D. Borkovec

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Speech phobic subjects prepared and presented two speeches with an interpolated phobic imagery task. During the imagery task subjects imagined a phobic stimulus scene followed by scene elaboration describing the subjects' responses to the situation. Phobic stimulus scenes were identical for all subjects, with only the response elaboration varying. For one-third of the subjects depicted response elaboration involved behaving in a relaxed and competent fashion; one-third imagined being anxious and performing incompetently; one-third visualized avoiding the phobic situation. Three stimulusresponse pairs were each presented three consecutive times. Half of the subjects in each imagery condition were given positive expectations regarding the likely effect of the imagery procedure on their speech fear, while half were given neutral expectations. Response imagery was significantly related to rate of subjective fear reduction within and across phobic image presentations, while expectancy influenced fear reduction on both subjective and heart rate measures during the imagery task.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-24
Number of pages14
JournalCognitive Therapy and Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1978

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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