ISSN 2043-8087
Journal of Experimental Psychopathology
 Volume 2, Issue 3, 371-385, 2011
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Modulation of responses to emotional information in pathological anxiety

Martien G.S. Schrooten (a), Fren T.Y. Smulders (b), and Arnoud Arntz (a)
(a) Department of Clinical Psychological, Maastricht University
(b) Department of Cognitive Neuroscience, Maastricht University

Volume 2, Issue 3, 2011, Pages 371-385

This study demonstrates, for the first time, that in pathological anxiety, behavioural responses depend on spatial correspondence to emotional information. Anxious patients and healthy controls were presented with word pairs consisting of one emotional and one neutral word (one above the other) and were asked to respond to the print colour of each pair by pressing the upper or lower response key. Patients responded faster when the required response did spatially correspond with a threat-related or positive word than when not; controls showed no significant response modulation. Response patterns were similar with 14 ms and 500 ms word presentation. These results are taken to suggest that these anxious patients preferentially respond to threat-relevant and positive information and are impaired to counteract this early tendency.

Table of Contents
  Group Characteristics
  Behavioural Results

Correspondence to
Dr. Martien G.S. Schrooten, Maastricht University, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, Department of Clinical Psychological Science P.O. Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands

Anxiety, Response modulations, Simon effect

Received 5 May 2010; Revised 20 Dec 2010; Accepted 11 Feb 2011; In Press 24 Jul 2011

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