We prefer what we fear: A response preference bias mimics attentional capture in spider fear

Haberkamp A, Biafora M, Schmidt T, Weiß K (2018)
JOURNAL OF ANXIETY DISORDERS 53: 30-38.

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The extent to which emotionally significant stimuli capture visual attention remains elusive because a preference for reporting or choosing emotionally significant stimuli could mimic attentional capture by these stimuli. We conducted two prior-entry experiments to disentangle whether phobic and fear-relevant stimuli capture attention or merely produce a response bias in spider-fearful participants. Prior entry denotes the effect that attended stimuli are perceived earlier than unattended stimuli as indicated by temporal order judgments. We presented phobic (spiders), fear-relevant (snakes) and neutral stimuli in pairs with varying temporal onset. The participants' task was to indicate which stimulus was presented first (Experiment 1) or second (Experiment 2). In the first experiment, spider-fearful but not control participants indicated that they had perceived spiders as occurring earlier in time, suggesting a prior-entry effect for spiders in this group. But surprisingly, in the second experiment, spider-fearful participants indicated more frequently that they had seen spiders as being presented second. This finding rules out a genuine prior-entry effect and instead suggests a strong preference for the response option associated with the feared animal. This response bias may result from a hypervigilance toward the feared stimulus and contribute to maintaining avoidance behavior in individuals with specific phobias.
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Haberkamp A, Biafora M, Schmidt T, Weiß K. We prefer what we fear: A response preference bias mimics attentional capture in spider fear. JOURNAL OF ANXIETY DISORDERS. 2018;53:30-38.
Haberkamp, A., Biafora, M., Schmidt, T., & Weiß, K. (2018). We prefer what we fear: A response preference bias mimics attentional capture in spider fear. JOURNAL OF ANXIETY DISORDERS, 53, 30-38. doi:10.1016/j.janxdis.2017.10.008
Haberkamp, A., Biafora, M., Schmidt, T., and Weiß, K. (2018). We prefer what we fear: A response preference bias mimics attentional capture in spider fear. JOURNAL OF ANXIETY DISORDERS 53, 30-38.
Haberkamp, A., et al., 2018. We prefer what we fear: A response preference bias mimics attentional capture in spider fear. JOURNAL OF ANXIETY DISORDERS, 53, p 30-38.
A. Haberkamp, et al., “We prefer what we fear: A response preference bias mimics attentional capture in spider fear”, JOURNAL OF ANXIETY DISORDERS, vol. 53, 2018, pp. 30-38.
Haberkamp, A., Biafora, M., Schmidt, T., Weiß, K.: We prefer what we fear: A response preference bias mimics attentional capture in spider fear. JOURNAL OF ANXIETY DISORDERS. 53, 30-38 (2018).
Haberkamp, Anke, Biafora, Melanie, Schmidt, Thomas, and Weiß, Katharina. “We prefer what we fear: A response preference bias mimics attentional capture in spider fear”. JOURNAL OF ANXIETY DISORDERS 53 (2018): 30-38.
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PMID: 29156434
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