ISSN 2043-8087
Journal of Experimental Psychopathology
 Volume 7, Issue 3, 343-359, 2016
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Attentional Bias towards Threatening and Neutral Facial Expressions in High Trait Anxious Children.

Authors
  Lauren Kelly - College of Life and Natural Sciences, University of Derby
  Frances Maratos - College of Life and Natural Sciences, University of Derby
  Sigrid Lipka - College of Life and Natural Sciences, University of Derby
  Steve Croker -

Volume 7, Issue 3, 2016, Pages 343-359
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5127/jep.052915

Abstract

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.


Table of Contents
Introduction
Experiment 1: The Attentional Blink, Anxiety and Facial Expressions
 Method
  Participants
  Stimuli
  Procedure
  Data screening
 Results
  Error data analysis
 Interim Discussion
Experiment 2: The Attentional Blink, Anxiety and Non-Emotive Stimuli
 Method
  Participants
  Stimuli
  Procedure
  Data screening
 Results
General Discussion
 Limitations and Future Directions
 Conclusions
Acknowledgements
References

Correspondence to
Frances A. Maratos, Department of Psychology, College of Life and Natural Sciences, University of Derby, Kedleston Road, Derby, DE22 1GB, UK.

Keywords
trait anxiety, children, attentional bias, ambiguity, threat

Dates
Received 20 Nov 2015; Revised 30 Jun 2016; Accepted 30 Jun 2016; In Press 3 Jul 2016







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