Csatho A, Davis G, 2007, "Threat mode in the human brain: Primed for action, not perception" Perception 36 ECVP Abstract Supplement
Threat mode in the human brain: Primed for action, not perception
A Csatho, G Davis
Optimising the efficiency with which we perceive, assess, and respond to stimuli in the environment is never more important than when faced with physical threat. In the laboratory, effects of threat perception on attention, memory, and cognition have been widely studied. However, perhaps the most crucial influences of threat perception, on the visual guidance of motor programming and execution, has received relatively little attention. Here, we assess the effects of perceived threat upon human targeting performance. We find that, following presentation of threatening stimuli, targeting performance improved for peripheral targets relative to central targets. Further experiments suggested that these effects were not mediated by influences of perceived threat on other aspects of perception, attention, and cognition. Rather, these details of our findings are most readily explained in terms of activation of superior colliculi, which subserves orienting to targets in the mammalian brain, and is activated following presentation of threat stimuli.
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