Laurent E, Bianchi R, 2011, "Time course of visual scanning in anxiety: An eye movement study " Perception 40 ECVP Abstract Supplement, page 193
Time course of visual scanning in anxiety: An eye movement study
E Laurent, R Bianchi
A threat-related attentional bias has extensively been reported within anxiety disorder spectrum. However, there is a paucity of research on anxious attentional response to anxiogenic visual stimulation under ‘long’ (>2 s) exposure duration. The present study aimed at examining prolonged attentional deployment—as indexed by ocular motor activity—toward threat-related material in anxious and non-anxious individuals. As their point-of-gaze was monitored using eye-tracking technology, participants viewed 4-picture slides invoking 4 competing emotional categories: threatening, sad, happy, and neutral. Each slide was displayed during 20 s to investigate attentional bias maintenance under extended stimulus scanning condition. Between-group analysis revealed that anxious participants were more likely than non-anxious participants to initially orient their attention toward negative pictures (ie threat pictures coupled with sad pictures). Within-group analysis showed that in the anxious group, threat-related pictures were more frequently targeted by participants’ first fixation than neutral pictures, whereas no such difference was found in the non-anxious group. No group effect on relative fixation number, relative fixation duration or mean glance duration was observed. This study confirms previous findings linking anxiety with facilitated attention to threat. This also suggests the need to take into account the dynamics of underlying coping strategies as a function of time since attentional maintenance biases seem to vary with presentation duration.
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