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Internet-Based Cognitive-Bias Modification (CBM-I)


The CBM-I program uses imagery-focused scenarios to reduce cognitive-bias in individuals with depression.

Based on cognitive-bias modification theory, CBM-I seeks to decrease negative cognitive-bias to improve depressive symptoms. Over seven daily sessions, the CBM-I program repeatedly presents users with ambiguous situations that ultimately resolve in a positive way. Scenarios are presented via audio paragraphs. By listening to these scenarios daily for seven days, CBM-I is designed to train individuals with depression to automatically interpret ambiguous situations in a positive manner.


Theoretical Approaches:
Cognitive Bias Modification (CBM)

Target Outcome(s):
Symptom severity

Young Adults (18-30)
Adults (30+)



Remote Access

Geographic Location:



  • Combining imagination and reason in the treatment of depression: A randomized controlled trial of internet-based cognitive-bias modification and internet-CBT for depression.

    Williams AD, Blackwell SE, Mackenzie A, Holmes EA, Andrews G. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. 2013. 81(5): 793-799. doi: 10.1037/a0033247

    Summary: In this randomized controlled trial, the authors tested the efficacy of an internet-based cognitive-bias modification (CBM-I) program for depression. Participants were recruited through an online clinic and research center in Australia. All participants completed an online questionnaire, and were screened for depression by phone. Those meeting criteria for major depression (n=69) were randomized to either the CBM-I condition or to a wait-list control condition. Participants receiving CBM-I had access to the daily program for one week. Afterwards, those participants had access to a web-based cognitive behavioral therapy (iCBT) program for 10 weeks. Waitlist participants received CBM-I and iCBT only after completion of the final study assessment. Participants were assessed at baseline, 1-week, and 10-week follow-ups. Results showed that after using CBM-I for 7 days, participants had a 27% decrease in depressive symptoms, which was both a statistically and clinically significant reduction. Participants in the control group had no decreases in depressive symptoms after 7 days. At 10 weeks, participants who completed the CBM-I and iCBT programs had a 65% decrease in depressive symptoms, while the waitlist control group had only a 35% decrease in depressive symptoms.

    Take Away: Use of the internet-based cognitive-bias modification (CBM-I) program is associated with rapid decreases in depressive symptoms, compare to no treatment.