Frequently Asked Questions

General questions

1. How can I make sure I get the main training condition?

a. Everyone will be randomly assigned to one of the various conditions being tested—you cannot choose which you are assigned to. This is necessary so the researchers can scientifically test how well each condition works. At the end of the study, you will be notified of your assignment. If you were assigned to a condition that we do not think will be the strongest one, you will then have the opportunity to complete the condition we expect to be most effective.

2. I’ve completed a few sessions and am still feeling anxious. Is the program not working for me?

a. Don’t give up! Even individuals assigned to the main condition may not notice changes right away. People in the other conditions may also not notice any changes, though this varies by person. It is important to keep completing the sessions as assigned and to honestly and accurately report your feelings throughout the program. You are helping us learn what works.

3. What if I miss a session? Can I do three the following week?

a. Try to complete the sessions based on the schedule we give you. We will send you email reminders to help you remember when you should complete your next session. If you miss a session, complete it as soon as you have time (though we ask you to always leave at least one day between sessions).

4. Where and when can I do the sessions?

a. You can complete this program wherever and whenever you would like, as long as you have access to an Internet connection. We strongly recommend that you complete the tasks when you are in a reasonably quiet place and able to devote your full attention to them.

5. I have limited computer skills. Can I still use this program?

a. Yes. Anyone with access to the Internet and an email address is welcome to use this site. Assessments (questionnaires) are simple and easy to complete; most are point-and-click. Other tasks will ask you to type letters on your keyboard. Throughout the study, we will send you emails to update you on your progress and to remind you of upcoming tasks. You can also email us if you have any questions. Email:

6. Who created this program?

a. Researchers from the University of Virginia created these programs, but they were adapted from evidence-based computer tasks that have typically been tested in research laboratories (Hallion and Ruscio, 2011) .As clinical scientists, we are interested in evaluating how well the programs work outside of the research lab. In the long run, we are interested in creating a cost-effective and accessible mental health treatment.

7. Is this really going to work for my anxiety?

a. This is an experimental program so it is still in the testing phase, but some prior research indicates it may be able to reduce anxiety. Even if you get assigned to a condition that we do not expect to be effective, you will be given the opportunity to complete the training condition that we expect to be most effective after you finish the study.

8. I’m already receiving treatment for my anxiety or mood (e.g., prescriptions or seeing a therapist). Can I still use this program?

a. Yes; anyone that qualifies is welcome to use this program. Before you begin, you will be asked a series of questions about your mental health. Please let us know that you are already receiving treatment, but you can still participate in this study.

9. Can I do the program from my phone or tablet?

a. It depends which study you are completing. Some studies, like the Managing Anxiety study can only be completed on a desktop, laptop, or netbook computer at this time, while other studies, like the Future Thinking study, can be completed on a computer, smartphone, or tablet. The following browsers are supported: Internet Explorer, Safari, Chrome, and Firefox.

10. What if I will be out of town, and without access to a computer, during the study?

a. If you miss a session, complete it as soon as you have time. Also, please let us know if you will be away for more than a week, or we may assume you are no longer interested in participating in the study.

Specific questions about your experience with the program

1. When answering questions (following each of the brief stories), the program keeps telling me that my answer is incorrect.

a. Please answer the questions based on information given to you in the stories. Remember that it is essential that you fully involve yourself as if the events described are really happening to you, so your answers should reflect that.

2. When trying to complete word fragments at the end of the brief stories, the program keeps telling me my answer is incorrect.

a. Please complete the word fragments based only on information given to you in the brief stories.

3. The web site freezes or the program does not work properly when on the MindTrails website.

a. You may run into issues with MindTrails if you are using an outdated version of a browser. To ensure that you have the best possible experience with MindTrials, please update your browser to the latest version. The MindTrails team recommends Google Chrome or Firefox, and also supports Safari and Internet Explorer. If you encounter any technical problems, please email us at Include as much detail as possible about your chosen device, operating system and web browser.

To update your browser:


Hallion, L. S., & Ruscio, A. M. (2011). A meta-analysis of the effect of cognitive bias modification on anxiety and depression. Psychological bulletin, 137(6), 940.