AbstractThis study examines the potential memory bias of individuals with social anxiety with regard on their working memory capacity. Although cognitive bias towards potential threats was already found in previous studies (e.g. Mathews & MacLeod, 2005), yet no significant memory bias was found in social anxious individuals was discovered. In addition studies came across a link between memory bias in anxious individuals and working memory (e.g. Judah, Grant, Lechner and Mills, 2013). Taking these findings into account this study puts both of these components together and investigates whether socially anxious individuals’ working memory capacity may have any effect on their memory bias. Therefore the working memory capacity of the social anxious participants and the participants in the control group, who were chosen along with the results of the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale, is tested with the OSpan Task. Afterwards a word list containing of 40 words divided consistently as neutral, physical threat, social threat and positive words, is given to the participants in order to check their memory bias afterwards. It is expected that socially anxious participants who undergo the manipulation during the word recalling test will Result 1 shows that, according to the OSpan Total Score anxious individuals showed in general better WMC than..Result 2 showed that participants with manipulation remembered better… than..Keywords:Social anxiety, memory bias, working memory, working memory load ?Introduction Various studies on memory bias in anxiety disorders have been conducted in the recent years.Important distinctions among the findings on memory biases between the types of anxiety disorders and between the different memory – task types used for the same anxiety disorders were found. Besides memory – tasks among studies can vary in numerous ways such as being either explicit tasks involving recognition, free recall and cued recall or implicit tasks like word stem completion. Furthermore, the chosen stimuli can be distinct across studies in matters of being verbal or non-verbal (Lundh et al. (1996b). In spite of everything most studies on memory bias in anxiety disorders are in fact carried out with semantic stimuli. Taking a closer look at some studies examining the memory bias in diverse anxiety disorders, remarkably more memory bias was found in individuals with panic disorder. Individuals with panic disorder for instance displayed implicit memory bias for threat information and recalled panic-related words, threat-related words and bodily threat information better compared to their control groups (Amir, McNally, Riemann, and Clements, 1996; Becker, Margraf & Rinck, 1994; Cloitre & Liebowitz, 1991; Cloitre, Shear, Cancienne & Zeitlin, 1994; McNally, Foa & Donnell, 1989). Moreover, memory bias was also discovered in individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder, who presented greater explicit and implicit memory bias for information related to trauma (Zeitlin & McNally, 1991). Similar results were found by Mathews et al. (1989) for patients with general anxiety disorder describing an implicit memory bias for threat. In both studies results were found within individuals with anxiety disorders, but no significant difference was found in contrast to the control group.While according to some studies no substantial memory bias related to threat information was found for generalized anxiety disorder (Mathews, Mogg, May & Eysenck, 1989; Mogg, Gardiner, Stavrou & Golombok, 1992; Mogg, Mathews & Weinman, 1987), several studies still found implicit memory biases towards threatening words in patients with generalized anxiety disorder (MacLeod and McLaughlin, 1995; Mathews, Mogg, May and Eysenck, 1989a). Although there are a lot of studies for anxiety disorders with regard on memory biases, just a few researchers examined the memory bias for social anxiety, probably because in previous studies finding any memory bias was quite complex by virtue of the assessment strategies plus the outcomes between and within the test groups and as well because most studies failed to demonstrate a memory bias successfully. Moreover some studies demonstrated contradictory outcomes. So, for example in contrast to the findings of agoraphobics’ selective memory bias towards phobic related material by Nunn et al. (1984), Pickles et al. (1988) failed to find any difference in recalling phobic related information between agoraphobics and control group. However, in studies of social anxiety disorder, which is the subject of this study, in fact no meaningful findings of social threat related memory bias was found at all (Cloitre, Cancienne, Heimberg, Holt and Liebowitz, 1995; Rapee, McCallum, Melville, Ravenscroft and Rodney, 1994). Lund et al. (1996b) managed to bring a new viewpoint to this area by pulling of a contradictory result for memory bias in individuals with social anxiety towards critical faces which established a contrast to the failed attempts of earlier researches to find such a memory bias for social anxiety (Rapee et al., 1994; Cloitre et al., 1995). Although there are some studies examining memory bias in social anxiety disorder, there are not enough studies that examine the memory bias with regard to the role of working memory so far. In order to give a better inside into this topic this study will investigate the memory bias of socially anxious individuals once again but this time with regard to the role of working memory.With the intention of creating a better understanding of social anxiety and the role of working memory, it’s best to start with their definition. In social anxiety, individuals share the fear of potential threats that may arise from strangers or social environments and usually avoid them (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Working memory describes the process which keeps the mind engaged while another involved charge is undertaken (Baddeley, 2010).Judah, Grant, Lechner and Mills (2013) implied a correlation between working memory and threat related information in socially anxious individuals. Their study demonstrated individuals with social anxiety who showed increased attention for threat, in this case disgust faces, while working memory was active and disengaged attention without the presence of working memory load (Judah, Grant, Lechner and Mills, 2013). Furthermore Booth, Mackintosh and Sharma (2016) showed that the absence of working memory load allows attention to be taken from potentially threat content while a high working memory load makes the distraction of attention inevitable which supports the findings of Judah et al. (2013). In addition, it has been found that an administrative control, such as a high working memory load, creates attention bias and operational bias for information based on emotional content (Booth, Mackintosh ve Sharma, 2016). Moreover, contemporary researchers also discovered that individuals with generalized social anxiety showed better working memory capacity performance for threat stimuli (Amir and Bomyea, 2011). Relying on previous researches there are two important findings which this study build on. First, there is a cognitive bias towards potential threats in individuals with social anxiety (e.g. Mathews & MacLeod, 2005) and second there is a link between memory bias in anxious individuals and working memory (e.g. Judah, Grant, Lechner and Mills, 2013). Based on the findings of the above mentioned researches, memory bias among participants with high levels of social anxiety is measured and compared to the control group with a word list consisting of positive, neutral and social threats and physical threats including words. Thus, the activation of the working memory constitutes the manipulation of this study as an independent variable for both groups. The first aim of this study was to determine whether individuals with high social anxiety levels in general show memory bias in comparison to those with low social anxiety levels. Another goal of this study was to examine how well individuals with high levels of social anxiety and individuals with low levels of social anxiety remembered threat words when their working memories were activated. Cognitive biases, related to attention and memory in anxiety disorders, have already been investigated. Although anomalies were found a lot in many anxiety disorders, there is no such obvious evidence for social anxiety. Therefore, any positive finding regarding to social anxiety and memory bias will construct a significantly contribution to the literature. This research aims to examine whether there is a memory bias for threatening words in individuals with high levels of social anxiety by using the effect of working memory on social anxiety as a manipulation factor. This study can give us new perspectives on cognitive aspects especially of socially anxious persons by examining the relation between working memory and memory bias of individuals with high level of social anxiety and the control group. In the field of clinical psychology, it may also provide better treatment options to reduce the symptoms of socially anxious individuals in terms of therapy.?MethodSubjects 62 University students between the ages of 18 and 30 were randomly chosen to fill in the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale which forms the first selection process. A total of 16 participants who scored significantly low (?35) and high (?55) on the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale were selected and invited to the experimental part of the study. Due to various incidents, such as the unreachability under the specified number or the failure of the Ospan task, participants were eliminated. In total four females and two males with the mean age of 20.5 were chosen for the continuing experimental part of the study. Individuals with high social anxiety results (2, females; 1, male, mean age=20.3) make up the experimental group, whereas individuals with low social anxiety results (2, females; 1, male, mean age=20.6) form the control group for this study. It is noted that both groups have similar characteristics and all participants participated voluntarily.Materials Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale (LSAS). The Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale (LSAS), developed by Liebowitz (1987), measures the severity of anxiety and avoidance behavior related to the individuals’ social anxiety levels. The scale is divided as “Anxiety” and “Avoidance” into two subscales and consists of a total of 24 items constructed with a 4-point Likert type scale. Eleven of the scale’s items cover social interaction and thirteen the social performance (Heimberg et al., 1999). The evaluation ranges from 0 to 144 and increased in proportion to the level of social anxiety (Safren et al., 1999). The validity and reliability studies of this study were carried out by Heimberg et al. (1999) proving the normal distribution and internal consistency of LSAS. The adaptation of the scale into Turkish was done by Soykan, Özgüven and Gencoz (2003) whereas the validity and reliability studies were completed by Dilbaz (2001). According to these studies the scale was found to be valid (? = .96) and reliable (r = .83). Word List. A word list consisting of 40 words is presented on the computer. Each word is shown to the participant for one seconds.These words are divided into four groups, ten words each, as “positive”, “neutral”, “social threat” and “physical threat” . The words selected for this word list are obtained from previous researches of similiar studies (MacLoed et al., 1986; Mathews et al., 1989; Mathews & MacLoed, 1985) and translated into Turkish (as shown on Table 1). This task aims to investigate whether there is any memory bias among the social anxious participants in comparison to the control group.State and Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI). The State and Trait Anxiety Inventory developed by Spielberg et al. (1970) consists of 40 items and includes two separate subscales. Both scales are composed of a 4-point Likert type scale with twenty items each. The State Anxiety Scale evaluates the anxiety levels felt by examining individuals’ instant mood states. The Trait Anxiety Scale measures the level of anxiety by taking into account the feelings of the individuals in general terms. The adaptation into Turkish and the reliability study of the State and Trait Anxiety Inventory was done by Oner and Le Compte (1983). Evidence of construct validity is provided and high reliability coefficients indicate the reliability of the State and Trait Anxiety Inventory.Operation Span (OSpan). OSpan Task is a computer-aided test developed by Unsworth et al. (2005), showing the items required to be remembered and distractions in turn to the participant. The items which need to be remembered are composed of letters (eg. “L”) and are shown to the participant for 800 milliseconds. The distracting items consist of mathematical equations (eg. 2 x 4 + 1 = 9). Participants are asked to evaluate the given equations as “right” or “wrong”. In order to increase the memory range, letters are displayed after the mathematical problems are solved by the participant. After each solved equation another letter is displayed continously. At the end of each set, the participants are expected to remember and mark the letters previously seen on the table in the correct order. The scoring related to the working memory capacities is done by the computer. An automated version of the OSpan Task was developed by Foster et al. (2015), which showed a high internal consistency (? = .69) and a high test-retest reliability (r = .83).