ISSN 2043-8087
Journal of Experimental Psychopathology
 Volume 7, Issue 3, 437-450, 2016
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Exploring Links between Neuroticism and Psychoticism Personality Traits, Attentional Biases to Threat and Friendship Quality in 9-11-year-olds

  Katerina Pavlou - Developmental Brain-Behaviour Laboratory, Department of Psychology, University of Southampton
  Valerie Benson - Centre for Vision and Cognition, Department of Psychology, University of Southampton
  Julie Hadwin - Developmental Brain-Behaviour Laboratory, Department of Psychology, University of Southampton

Volume 7, Issue 3, 2016, Pages 437-450

The current study used an eye-movement Remote Distractor Paradigm (RDP) to explore attention to threat and considered associations with personality traits (neuroticism and psychoticism) and self-reported friendship quality in children aged 9-11 years. The RDP asked children to look at and identify a target presented on a computer display in the presence or absence of a central, parafoveal or peripheral visual distractor (an angry, happy or neutral face). The results showed that symptoms of neuroticism were associated with hypervigilance for threat (i.e., slower latencies to initiate eye movements to the target in the presence of angry versus happy or neutral faces). In addition, when distractors were presented centrally, this relationship was most evident in children who reported lower levels of attentional control. Psychoticism traits were associated with increased selective attention to all distractors (as measured by directional errors to face stimuli) and to child reported lower friendship quality. Moreover, the negative relationship between psychoticism and friendship characteristics associated with companionship was mediated via attentional capture of threat (i.e., a greater proportion of directional errors to angry distractors). The findings have potential to inform the development of translational research, to reduce symptoms of psychopathology and address attentional biases to threat with an aim to improve peer relationships in late childhood.

Table of Contents
 Stimuli and apparatus
  Neuroticism and psychoticism
  Attentional control
  Friendship quality
 Data Analysis
 Eye movement measures
  Saccade latencies and the remote distractor effect (RDE).
  Saccade latencies to the target
  Directional errors
  Reaction time data
  Task performance and individual differences

Correspondence to
Julie A. Hadwin, Developmental Brain-Behaviour Laboratory, Department of Psychology, University of Southampton

anxiety; personality; attention biases; friendship quality

Received 1 Feb 2016; Revised 30 Jun 2016; Accepted 30 Jun 2016; In Press 3 Jul 2016

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