ISSN 2043-8087
Journal of Experimental Psychopathology
 Volume 3, Issue 3, 393-408, 2012
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Anxiety-Related Biases in Visual Orienting and Spatial Motor Response Selection Independently Assessed By a Probe-Classification Task

Martien G.S. Schrooten (a)(b), Fren T.Y. Smulders (c), Karin Mogg (d) and Brendan P. Bradley (d)
(a) Department of Clinical Psychological Science, Maastricht University, The Netherlands
(b) Department of Psychology, University of Leuven, Belgium
(c) Department of Cognitive Neuroscience, Maastricht University, The Netherlands
(d) Psychology, University of Southampton, UK

Volume 3, Issue 3, 2012, Pages 393-408

This dot-probe study assessed anxiety-related biases in visual attentional orienting and spatial motor response selection (motor attention) in high- and low-trait-anxious adults, and whether anxiety-related biases depend on response speed. Emotional-neutral word pairs appeared for 14 or 500 ms, with one word of each pair replaced by a probe. Visual attention bias to emotional words was reflected by faster responses to probes replacing emotional words (spatial correspondence between probe and word positions). Response selection bias was reflected by faster responses when emotional word position (top/bottom screen) spatially corresponded to response position (upper/lower response key). Results revealed anxiety-related bias in visual attention for physical-threat words. In distributional analyses, this bias was associated with slower responses in the 14 ms condition (first task half). Results also revealed anxiety-related effects of spatial correspondence between emotional word and response, which are discussed in terms of increased bias in motor attention towards emotional stimuli in anxiety.

Table of Contents
 Group characteristics
 Behavioral results
  Data preparation
  Anxiety-related bias in visual orienting of attention
  Anxiety-related bias in spatial motor response selection
  Mean analyses.
  Correlation between visual orienting scores and response selection scores
 Anxiety-related bias in visual orienting of attention
 Anxiety-related bias in spatial motor response selection

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.

Visual orienting of attention, Response selection, Motor attention, Stimulus-response compatibility, Anxiety

Received 1 Jun 2011; Revised 17 Nov 2011; Accepted 20 Nov 2011; In Press 1 Jul 2012

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