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Sex differences in attentional bias before and after stress induction : an event related potential study


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Jackson, ERV 2015 , 'Sex differences in attentional bias before and after stress induction : an event related potential study', Honours thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Females have double the lifetime prevalence of anxiety disorders compared to males. Attentional bias to threat and arousal reactivity have been consistently implicated as a potential mechanism underlying the development and maintenance of anxiety disorders. Sex differences in attentional bias and arousal may contribute towards the prevalence for anxiety disorders in females. There is limited research exploring sex differences in attentional bias, and the literature is inconsistent, possibly due to relying on RT as a dependent measure for attentional bias, and not accounting for baseline arousal. One recent study found females displayed increased arousal and attentional bias to threat following acute stress induction. To replicate and extend these findings ERPs, RT and salivary alpha amylase (sAA, indexed noradrenaline) were measured to examine sex differences in P1 and N1 (reflecting early visual orientation) and P3 component (reflecting conscious allocation of visual resources). sAA results indicated that acute-stress induction produced significant increase in stress hormone noradrenaline, but females did not have heighted arousal reactivity. RT and ERP component analysis indicated no attentional bias to threat in females or males. These findings did not confirm the predictions of the study. The limitations of the present study and future research suggestions are also discussed.

Item Type: Thesis - Honours
Authors/Creators:Jackson, ERV
Keywords: dot-probe, arousal, noradrenaline, P1, N1, P3, anxiety
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Copyright 2016 the author

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