One hundred twenty female participants, with varying levels of spider fear were asked to complete an automated 8-step perceived-threat behavioral approach test (PT-BAT). The steps involved asking the participants if they were willing to put their hand into a number of opaque jars with an incrementally increasing risk of contact with a spider (none of the jars actually contained a spider). There was a negative correlation between the number of steps completed and self-reported spider fear as measured with the Fear of Spiders Questionnaire (FSQ). Additionally, the task discriminated between high, mid, and low fear on 2 behavioral measures: (a) the number of steps completed and (b) reported willingness to return and repeat the task. The automated procedure provides a psychological challenge with a high level of experimental control.
Cochrane, Andy; Barnes-Holmes, Dermot; and Barnes-Holmes, Yvonne
"The Perceived-Threat Behavioral Approach Test (PT-BAT): Measuring Avoidance in High-, Mid-, and Low-Spider-Fearful Participants,"
The Psychological Record: Vol. 58
, Article 6.
Available at: http://opensiuc.lib.siu.edu/tpr/vol58/iss4/6