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Attentional bias towards negative stimuli in healthy individuals and the effects of trait anxiety

Abstract : This study aimed to investigate the time course of attentional bias for negative information in healthy individuals and to assess the associated influence of trait anxiety. Thirty-eight healthy volunteers performed an emotional dot-probe task with pairs of negative and neutral scenes, presented for either 1 or 2 s and followed by a target placed at the previous location of either negative or neutral stimulus. Analyses included eye movements during the presentation of the scenes and response times associated with target localization. In a second step, analyses focused on the influence of trait anxiety. While there was no significant difference at the behavioral level, the eye-tracking data revealed that negative information held longer attention than neutral stimuli once fixated. This initial maintenance bias towards negative pictures then increased with increasing trait anxiety. However, at later processing stages, only individuals with the highest trait anxiety appeared to fixate longer on negative pictures than neutral pictures, individuals with low trait anxiety showing the opposite pattern. This study provides novel evidence that healthy individuals display an attentional maintenance bias towards negative stimuli, which is associated with trait anxiety.
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Submitted on : Monday, August 31, 2020 - 3:32:08 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, March 23, 2022 - 3:51:29 PM
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Emilie Veerapa, Pierre Grandgenèvre, Mohamed El Fayoumi, Benjamin Vinnac, Océanne Haelewyn, et al.. Attentional bias towards negative stimuli in healthy individuals and the effects of trait anxiety. Scientific Reports, Nature Publishing Group, 2020, 10 (1), pp.11826. ⟨10.1038/s41598-020-68490-5⟩. ⟨inserm-02926278⟩



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