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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/3888

Title: Performance enhancement in public speaking anxiety and associated changes in brain activity: a comparison of two cognitive strategies
Authors: Glassman, Lisa Hayley
Keywords: Clinical psychology;Public speaking--Psychological aspects;Anxiety--Psychological aspects
Issue Date: Apr-2012
Abstract: Individuals with public speaking phobia experience fear and avoidance that can cause extreme distress, impaired speaking performance, and associated problems in psychosocial functioning. Most extant interventions for public speaking phobia tend to focus on the reduction of anxiety and avoidance, but neglect performance. Additionally, very little is known about the neurophysiological mechanisms responsible for social performance under conditions of high anxiety. The current study compared the efficacy of two cognitive behavioral treatments (standard Beckian Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CT) versus an acceptance-based behavior therapy called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)) in enhancing public speaking performance and coping with anxiety. Secondarily, brain activation was measured to explore the relationships between treatment type, anxiety, performance, and prefrontal brain oxygenation. Individuals (n=19) with high public speaking anxiety were randomized to a 90-minute ACT or CT intervention. Assessments took place at pre- and post-treatment and included self-rated and objective anxiety measures, a behavioral assessment, ACT and CT process measures, and functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) readings. Results indicated that participants in the ACT condition experienced greater improvements in observer-rated performance in comparison to those in the CT condition. Individuals in the ACT condition exhibited greater reductions in oxygenated hemoglobin in the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex following the intervention than those in the CT condition. Furthermore, blood volume decreased in the ACT condition and increased in the CT condition between pre- and post-treatment assessments. These results suggest that ACT may have a superior performance effect in this population, and that these two treatment modalities have different effects in the brain.
Description: Thesis (M.S., Clinical psychology)--Drexel University, 2012.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/3888
Appears in Collections:Drexel Theses and Dissertations

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