A "simple" anxiety test
With two tachistoscopes we can perform the research as described in the theory. We can choose for the cognition approach or the emotion approach.
Here we choose for the emotion approach in describing a simple anxiety test.
What do we need for such a test?
We present a person two pictures after each other.
The task will be to identify the second picture.
The second picture is a member of a collection of known persons to the person who is performing the test. This set or collection can even be expanded by known or familiar things.
These kown persons or things are limited in number e.g. 6 or 10 (what is manageable?).
The identification of these known persons and things is trained
before the actual test.
The training consists of presenting at random the known persons and things very fast with different presentation speeds e.g. 10 milliseconds, 20 ms, 30 ms, 40ms, 100 ms.
One can consider to present multiple different pictures of the same person. Or multiple different pictures of the same things in different situations.
The identification must be 100% correct.
When this phase is completed the actual test can be performed.
By means of the first picture we want to establish the domain in which fear develops e.g. animals such as spiders, dogs, flies and so on.
Or other fear evoking things such as places: toilet, bathroom, cellar, narrow street, and so on
Or colors red, black and so on
Or persons: father mother, uncle, sisters, brothers friends teacher trainer and so on
So we expect the following:
when a person is afraid of e.g. dogs then we expect that the identification of a known person will drop when as a first picture a dog is presented.
So after the test we can establish by means of low identification scores of the second photograph where the fear lies for this person. Low scores on the second picture gives us an indication of existing anxiety connected to the first picture. We can trace back the source of the anxiety.
The trick in this approach lies in finding the right time relation between first en second photograph. The presentation time of the first photo must be as short as possible to trigger anxiety when anxiety is connected to this photograph.
When the persentation time of the first picture is too long conscious mechanisms will take over and there will be no influence of the anxiety connected to the first picture on the identification of the second photograph.
The duration of the presentation time of the second picture or photograph must be just as long as to be able to, without anxiety present as a result of the first picture, identify this second picture.
We expect that when anxiety is present even with a shorter duration of the first picture (and so a longer presentation of the second picture) the identification of the second picture will drop.
A second issue came to mind: we can present a static picture of a dog but what will happen when a more lively dog is presented?
The most simple adjustment is to split the first picture of the dog into two pictures of the dog: first picture is a small dog followed by the second picture of the same dog but larger than the first one.
The experience by the observer will be: the dog is coming towards me! This is more frightening than a static dog.
To realize this approach we need 3 tachistoscopes: two for the first picture to come alive and the third one for the identifiable picture.