ISSN 2043-8087
Journal of Experimental Psychopathology
 Volume 4, Issue 4, 387-404, 2013
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A Laboratory Investigation of Anxious Cognition: How Subliminal Cues Alter Perceptual Sensitivity to Threat

Authors
Aiste Jusyte and Michael Schonenberg
University of Tubingen, Germany

Volume 4, Issue 4, 2013, Pages 387-404
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5127/jep.032112

Abstract
Emotional stimuli represent a category of signals that are relevant for survival. This relevance is reflected in the prioritization of threatening over neutral information, which has been demonstrated for inherently threatening stimuli and stimuli with acquired affective significance. The present study aimed to investigate whether threatening cues presented without conscious awareness have an impact on perceptual judgements. For this purpose, neutral or angry facial expressions associated with prior congruent (Experiment 1), incongruent (Experiment 3) or no aversive learning (Experiment 2) were presented subliminally in a perceptual decision task. During the task, subjects rated mask faces that varied in emotion intensity ranging from neutral to angry. Subjects tended to make more "angry" responses only when the subliminal stimulus was angry and had been previously paired with an aversive experience. These findings may have direct clinical relevance because similar mechanisms could account for cognitive biases in anxiety disorders.

Table of Contents
Introduction
Experiment 1
Materials and Methods
Participants.
Materials: Facial stimuli.
Procedure
Phase I: Conditioning.
Phase II: Perceptual decision task.
Phase III: Recognition task.
Results
Recognition task.
Perceptual decision task.
Conclusion
Experiment 2
Method
Participants.
Stimulus material and procedure.
Results
Recognition task.
Perceptual decision task.
Conclusion
Experiment 3
Method
Participants.
Stimulus material and procedure.
Results
Recognition task.
Perceptual decision task.
Conclusion
Joint Analysis of Collapsed Data
Control Measures
Perceptual Bias
General Discussion
Acknowledgements
Funding
References
Appendix: Supplementary Material
Curve-Fitting Analysis
References

Correspondence to
Aiste Jusyte, University of Tübingen, Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Schleichstr. 4, D-72076 Tübingen, Germany.

Keywords
subliminal, threat, anxiety, perceptual sensitivity

Dates
Received 6 Sep 2012; Revised 14 Mar 2013; Accepted 19 Mar 2013; In Press 16 Oct 2013







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