Attentional bias towards threatening and neutral facial expressions in high trait anxious children

Kelly, Lauren C. ORCID:, Maratos, Frances A., Lipka, Sigrid and Croker, Steve (2016) Attentional bias towards threatening and neutral facial expressions in high trait anxious children. Journal of Experimental Psychopathology, 7 (3). pp. 343-359. ISSN 2043-8087

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Research suggests that anxious children display increased attentional biases for threat-related stimuli. However, findings based upon spatial domain research (e.g., visual probe) are equivocal. Moreover, few studies allow for the independent analysis of trials containing neutral (i.e., potentially ambiguous) faces. Here we report two temporal attentional blink experiments with high trait-anxious (HTA) and low trait-anxious (LTA) primary-age children. In an emotive experiment, we manipulated the valence of the second target (T2: a threatening, positive or neutral face). Results revealed that HTA children demonstrated more accurate performance on threat and neutral trials. In a non-emotive control experiment, where shapes served as the T2, no differences between HTA and LTA children were observed. Results suggest that trait anxiety is associated with an attentional bias for threat in children. Additionally, the neutral face finding suggests that HTA children bias attention towards ambiguity. These findings could have important implications for current anxiety disorder treatments.

Item Type: Article
Identifier: 10.5127/jep.052915
Additional Information: © Textrum 2016
Keywords: trait anxiety, children, attentional bias, faces, ambiguity, angry, threat
Subjects: Psychology > Counselling and psychotherapy
Social sciences
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Lauren Kelly
Date Deposited: 22 Jan 2017 20:48
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2021 07:22


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