Visual search with animal fear-relevant stimuli: A tale of two procedures

Waters, Allison M., Lipp, Ottmar V. and Randhawa, Ranjiv S. (2011) Visual search with animal fear-relevant stimuli: A tale of two procedures. Motivation and Emotion, 35 1: 23-32. doi:10.1007/s11031-010-9191-8

Author Waters, Allison M.
Lipp, Ottmar V.
Randhawa, Ranjiv S.
Title Visual search with animal fear-relevant stimuli: A tale of two procedures
Journal name Motivation and Emotion   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0146-7239
Publication date 2011-03
Year available 2010
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s11031-010-9191-8
Volume 35
Issue 1
Start page 23
End page 32
Total pages 10
Place of publication New York, NY, U.S.A.
Publisher Springer New York
Collection year 2012
Language eng
Formatted abstract
The present study assessed preferential attentional processing of animal fear-relevant stimuli in two procedures, Search and Interference tasks, which have been suggested to reflect on attentional capture due to the fear-relevance of the stimuli presented. In the Search task, participants (N = 154) searched fear-relevant (i.e., snakes and spiders) and non fear-relevant (i.e., fish and birds) backgrounds to determine the presence or absence of a deviant animal from the opposite category. In the Interference task, the same participants searched for the presence or absence of a neutral target (a cat) when either a snake, spider or no distracter were embedded amongst backgrounds of other animal stimuli. Replicating previous findings, preferential attentional processing of animal fear-relevant stimuli was evident in both procedures and participants who specifically feared one animal but not the other showed enhanced preferential processing of their feared fear-relevant animal. However, across the entire sample, there was no relationship between self-reported levels of animal fear and preferential processing which may reflect on the fact that substantial preferential attentional processing of fear-relevant animals was evident in the entire sample. Also, preferential attentional processing as assessed in the two tasks was not related. Delayed disengagement from fear-relevant stimuli appeared to underlie performance in the search task but not in the interference task.
Keyword Fear-relevance
Visual search
Attentional bias
Facial expressions
Emotional faces
Social phobia
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Published online: 25 September 2010

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2012 Collection
School of Psychology Publications
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Created: Tue, 20 Sep 2011, 12:00:17 EST by Ottmar Lipp on behalf of School of Psychology