A systematic review of the literature on interpretation bias and its physiological correlates

A. Collins, R. B. Scott, C. R. Hirsch, C. Ottaviani, C. Krahé, F. Meeten*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
34 Downloads (Pure)


An important, yet under-explored area of interpretation bias research concerns the examination of potential physiological correlates and sequalae of this bias. Developing a better understanding of the physiological processes that underpin interpretation biases will extend current theoretical frameworks underlying interpretation bias, as well as optimise the efficacy of cognitive bias modification for interpretation (CBM-I) interventions aimed at improving symptoms of emotional disorders. To this end, systematic searches were conducted across the Web of Science, PsycInfo and Pubmed databases to identify physiological markers of interpretation bias. In addition, grey literature database searches were conducted to compliment peer-reviewed research and to counter publication bias. From a combined initial total of 898 records, 15 studies were included in qualitative synthesis (one of which was obtained from the grey literature). Eligible studies were assessed using a quality assessment tool adapted from the Quality Checklist for Healthcare Intervention Studies. The searches revealed seven psychophysiological correlates of interpretation bias, namely event-related potentials, heart rate and heart rate variability, respiratory sinus arrythmia, skin conductance response, pupillometry, and electromyography. The respective theoretical and practical implications of the research are discussed, followed by recommendations for future research.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108398
JournalBiological Psychology
Early online date10 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


  • Cognitive bias modification
  • Emotional disorders
  • Interpretation bias
  • Physiological markers
  • Physiology


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