Expectancy influences on attention to threat are only weak and transient: Behavioral and physiological evidence

Aue, Tatjana; Chauvigné, Léa A. S.; Bristle, Mirko; Okon-Singer, Hadas; Guex, Raphaël (2016). Expectancy influences on attention to threat are only weak and transient: Behavioral and physiological evidence. Biological psychology, 121(Part B), pp. 173-186. Elsevier 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2016.07.006

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Can prior expectancies shape attention to threat? To answer this question, we manipulated the expectancies of spider phobics and nonfearful controls regarding the appearance of spider and bird targets in a visual search task. We observed robust evidence for expectancy influences on attention to birds, reflected in error rates, reaction times, pupil diameter, and heart rate (HR). We found no solid effect, however, of the same expectancies on attention to spiders; only HR revealed a weak and transient impact of prior expectancies on the orientation of attention to threat. Moreover, these asymmetric effects for spiders versus birds were observed in both phobics and controls. Our results are thus consistent with the notion of a threat detection mechanism that is only partially permeable to current expectancies, thereby increasing chances of survival in situations that are mistakenly perceived as safe.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Psychological and Behavioral Health

UniBE Contributor:

Aue, Tatjana and Bristle, Mirko

Subjects:

100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health

ISSN:

0301-0511

Publisher:

Elsevier

Funders:

[UNSPECIFIED] Swiss National Science Foundation

Language:

English

Submitter:

Tatjana Aue

Date Deposited:

20 Jun 2017 17:27

Last Modified:

20 May 2020 09:42

Publisher DOI:

10.1016/j.biopsycho.2016.07.006

PubMed ID:

27396748

Uncontrolled Keywords:

attention bias, expectancy bias, combined cognitive biases hypothesis, somatovisceral responding, heart rate, pupil size, respiration

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.98059

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/98059

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