Better safe than sorry: Simplistic fear-relevant stimuli capture attention

Forbes, Sarah J., Purkis, Helena M. and Lipp, Ottmar V. (2011) Better safe than sorry: Simplistic fear-relevant stimuli capture attention. Cognition and Emotion, 25 5: 794-804. doi:10.1080/02699931.2010.514710

Author Forbes, Sarah J.
Purkis, Helena M.
Lipp, Ottmar V.
Title Better safe than sorry: Simplistic fear-relevant stimuli capture attention
Journal name Cognition and Emotion   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0269-9931
Publication date 2011-08-01
Year available 2010
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1080/02699931.2010.514710
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 25
Issue 5
Start page 794
End page 804
Total pages 11
Place of publication Sussex, United Kingdom
Publisher Psychology Press
Language eng
Abstract It has been consistently demonstrated that fear-relevant images capture attention preferentially over fear-irrelevant images. Current theory suggests that this faster processing could be mediated by an evolved module that allows certain stimulus features to attract attention automatically, prior to the detailed processing of the image. The present research investigated whether simplified images of fear-relevant stimuli would produce interference with target detection in a visual search task. In Experiment 1, silhouettes and degraded silhouettes of fear-relevant animals produced more interference than did the fear-irrelevant images. Experiment 2, compared the effects of fear-relevant and fear-irrelevant distracters and confirmed that the interference produced by fear-relevant distracters was not an effect of novelty. Experiment 3 suggested that fear-relevant stimuli produced interference regardless of whether participants were instructed as to the content of the images. The three experiments indicate that even very simplistic images of fear-relevant animals can divert attention.
Keyword Fear-relevance
Attentional capture
Outline contour
Visual search
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes First published on 05 October 2010.

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2011 Collection
School of Psychology Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 7 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Tue, 15 Mar 2011, 03:34:13 EST by Lucy O'Brien on behalf of School of Psychology