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Arash Farshid

Lab members hail from all over, united by a pursuit of scientific truth and sharing labcoats

Home State:


Graduated From:

University of California, San Diego

Research Interests:

My research focuses on understanding the cognitive processes underlying the etiology and maintenance of anxiety disorders.  In particular, my research has centered on investigating the role of information-processing biases in specific phobia.  Presently, the precise nature with which these biases operate on anxiety and influence the mainteance of anxiety-related disorders remains unclear.  Thus, the ultimate goal of my research is to better elucidate the nature of these cognitive biases in order to make anxiety disorders more amenable to change.

Representative Studies:

The Attentional Blink Effect in Spider- and Snake-fearful Individuals
We investigated the temporal allocation of attention toward threat in spider- and snake-fearful individuals using the rapid serial visual presentation paradigm.  Relative to non-anxious controls, fearful individuals were more readily able to process and recall non-threat stimuli appearing within a half second of phobia-specific stimuli that were displayed in the same spatial location, possibly reflecting the after-effects of hypervigilance toward threat.  Although fleeting, this attentional perseverance likely impedes attentional resources from being allocated toward possibly more relevant stimuli in the periphery, producing opportunities for functional impairment.  Given the automatic processes that underlie such attentional patterns, biases of this sort may help to explain why the maintenance of anxiety disorders is often so robust.

Change Detection in Spider-fearful Individuals
Extant research suggests that there are limited contexts under which memory biases are expressed in specific phobia. Research to date, however, has yet to investigate whether individuals with and without animal phobia have differential working memory capacities for phobia-specific stimuli in a change detection paradigm. Although accuracy and reaction time were impeded as a function of display size and stimulus complexity, spider-fearful and spider-tolerant individuals did not significantly differ in their visual working memory capacities for threat-relevant stimuli. Furthermore, participant SPQ scores did not correlate with accuracy and reaction time data for threat-relevant stimuli. The absence of a visual working memory bias confirms previous findings that attentional biases are more commonly expressed than are memory biases in specific phobia. This is said to be the case given that self-schemas tend to be more relevant to other disorders, such as depression, compared to anxiety.

Sample Work:

Attentional Blink Effect in Spider- and Snake-fearful Individuals

Change Detection in Spider-fearful Individuals


Watching and attending sporting events, honing my pop culture knowledge, and catching up on my DVR.

Favorite Quote:

"Money may not buy you happiness, but it's easier to cry in a Mercedes than on a unicycle."