Automatic Negative Thoughts: Catching the ANTs


United States Department of Homeland Security

Key Points

  1. Negativity bias: we favor false alarms over no alarms and overlearn negative events.
  2. This results in more negative emotions but is adaptive for our survival.
  3. Negativity bias accounts for many PTSD symptoms.
  4. Negativity bias also results in automatic negative thoughts (ANTs).
  5. People who have been traumatized tend to have ANTs that are personal, pervasive, and permanent. Additional ANTs include self-blame and hindsight bias.
  6. Questions to screen for a potential ANT are: is it logical? Is there evidence? And does it matter?

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Automatic Negative Thoughts: Catching the ANTs

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