ISSN 2043-8087
Journal of Experimental Psychopathology
 Volume 7, Issue 1, 1-17, 2016
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Aberrant Gaze Patterns in Social Anxiety Disorder: An Eye Movement Assessment during Public Speaking

Authors
  Nigel Chen - Brain & Mind Research Institute, University of Sydney, Australia. And Centre for the Advancement of Research on Emotion, School of Psychology, University of Western Australia.
  Patrick Clarke - Brain & Mind Research Institute, University of Sydney, Australia. And Centre for the Advancement of Research on Emotion, School of Psychology, University of Western Australia.
  Colin MacLeod - Centre for the Advancement of Research on Emotion, School of Psychology, University of Western Australia, and School of Psychology, Babeş-Bolyai University, Romania
  Ian Hickie - Brain & Mind Research Institute, University of Sydney, Australia.
  Adam Guastella - Brain & Mind Research Institute, University of Sydney, Australia.

Volume 7, Issue 1, 2016, Pages 1-17
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5127/jep.040313

Abstract
Social anxiety disorder is maintained by biased attentional processing, which may encompass biases in the component engagement, disengagement, and avoidance attentional processes. However, few studies have directly examined whether such biases occur during social-evaluative conditions characteristically feared in social anxiety. The current study presents a novel approach for the assessment of attentional bias. Clinically socially anxious (n = 27) and control (n = 29) participants were required to give a speech in front of a pre-recorded audience displaying emotional social gestures while eye movement was recorded. Socially anxious individuals avoided attending to positive and threatening stimuli. At the onset of an emotional gesture, control participants were additionally faster to orient towards positive, relative to threatening gestures, while this bias was absent in socially anxious participants. The findings suggest that during conditions of social-evaluative stress, social anxiety is characterized by the attentional avoidance of emotional stimuli, and the absence of an engagement bias favouring positive stimuli.

Table of Contents
Introduction
Method
 Participants
 Materials
  Questionnaire measures.
  Emotional social stimuli.
  Experimental task display.
  Tobii eye tracker.
 Procedure
 Data Preparation
  Total fixation time.
  Attentional engagement.
  Attentional disengagement.
Results
 Questionnaire Measures
 Attentional Avoidance
 Attentional Engagement and Disengagement Analysis
 Engagement Propensity
 Engagement Speed
 Disengagement Speed
 Potential Influence of Age, Gender and Depression
Discussion
Acknowledgements
References

Correspondence to
A/Prof. Adam J. Guastella, Brain & Mind Research Institute, 100 Mallett St, Camperdown NSW 2050, Australia.

Keywords
Social anxiety; eye gaze; attentional bias; avoidance; speech task; engagement; stress

Dates
Received 2 Dec 2013; Revised 1 Oct 2014; Accepted 22 Oct 2014; In Press 1 Aug 2015









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