Attentional bias for negative expressions depends on previous target location: replicable effect but unreliable measures

Thomas Gladwin, Matthew Jewiss, Matthijs Vink

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Abstract

Observability of threat-related spatial attentional biases may require previous-trial
responses associated with threat-related locations. This carryover effect might affect
reliability and correlations. In Study 1, a diagonalized Visual Probe Task was completed
online (N=131) with colour, anger, fear and disgust stimuli, with questionnaires on
aggression, anxiety, depression and impulsivity. Bias towards negative stimuli was
found only following previous targets on the negative location. Study 2 aimed to test
an interpretation in terms of cue-evoked attention. Task variants were completed
(N=101) with and without removal of the cue when targets appeared. Anger and
disgust stimuli and aggression, anxiety and depression scales were used. Carryover was
replicated with no interaction with cue offset. Over both tasks, reliability was low and
no robust correlations with questionnaires were found. Carryover thus determined
whether attentional bias to negative facial expressions was observed, but analyses
taking this into account did not improve reliability or reveal correlations
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Cognitive Psychology
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Aug 2020

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