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ERP correlates of attentional processing in spider fear: evidence of threat-specific hypervigilance

Venetacci, R, Johnstone, Amber, Kirkby, KC ORCID: 0000-0002-4730-1199 and Matthews, AJ ORCID: 0000-0003-2961-9125 2017 , 'ERP correlates of attentional processing in spider fear: evidence of threat-specific hypervigilance' , Cognition and Emotion , pp. 1-13 , doi: 10.1080/02699931.2017.1310717.

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Attentional bias towards threat can be demonstrated by enhanced processing ofthreat-related targets and/or greater interference when threat-related distractors arepresent. These effects are argued to reflect processing within the orienting andexecutive control networks of the brain respectively. This study investigatedbehavioural (RT) and electrophysiological correlates of early selective attention andtop-down attentional control among females with high (n = 16) or low (n = 16)spider fear (Mean age = 22 years). Participants completed a novel flanker go/nogotask in which a central schematic flower or spider stimulus was flanked by eithercongruent or incongruent distractors. Participants responded to green stimuli (gotrials) and withheld response to yellow stimuli (nogo trials). High fear participantsdemonstrated significantly shorter reaction times and greater P1 amplitude tospider targets, suggesting specific hypervigilance towards threat-relevant stimuli. Incontrast to predictions, there was little evidence for behavioural interference effectsor differences in N2 amplitude when distractor stimuli were threat-relevant.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Venetacci, R and Johnstone, Amber and Kirkby, KC and Matthews, AJ
Keywords: Spider fear; ERPs; attentional bias; flanker; P1; N2
Journal or Publication Title: Cognition and Emotion
Publisher: Psychology Press
ISSN: 0269-9931
DOI / ID Number: 10.1080/02699931.2017.1310717
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2017 Informa UK Limited

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