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    Blinded by fear? Prior exposure to fearful faces enhances attentional processing of task-irrelevant stimuli

    Berggren, Nick and Derakhshan, Nazanin (2013) Blinded by fear? Prior exposure to fearful faces enhances attentional processing of task-irrelevant stimuli. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 66 (11), pp. 2204-2218. ISSN 1747-0218.

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    Abstract

    Threatening information has been shown to both capture attention and enhance sensory processing. Recent evidence has also suggested that exposure to fearful stimuli may enhance perceptual processing of subsequently presented information, as well as increase attentional capacity. However, these results are inconsistent with other findings that fearful stimuli reduce task-irrelevant distraction and improve selective attention. Here, we investigated the effect of prior exposure to fearful faces on performance in the Eriksen flanker task. Across experiments, fearful cues led to increased task-irrelevant distraction for items positioned across visual space, in contrast to other emotional expressions and inverted face items, and under conditions of attentional load. Findings support the view that fearful images enhance attentional capacity, allowing one to attend to as much visual information as possible when danger is implied. Conflicting findings on the effect of fear and selective attention are discussed.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Emotion, Selective attention, Response competition
    School: Birkbeck Schools and Departments > School of Science > Psychological Sciences
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 22 Mar 2013 07:45
    Last Modified: 11 Oct 2016 12:01
    URI: http://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/6335

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