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    Effects of anxiety on the processing of fearful and happy faces: an event-related potential study

    Holmes, Amanda and Nielsen, M.K. and Green, Simon (2008) Effects of anxiety on the processing of fearful and happy faces: an event-related potential study. Biological Psychology 77 (2), pp. 159-173. ISSN 0301-0511.

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    This study investigated the influence of trait anxiety on event-related potentials (ERPs) to fearful, happy, and neutral faces. Fearful faces, relative to neutral, elicited a range of effects in the low-trait anxiety (LTA) group: an enhanced visual P1 component, an early posterior negativity (EPN), and a sustained fronto-central positivity. Emotional expression effects were generally weaker for happy faces. The enhanced fronto-central positivity and EPN triggered by fearful stimuli in LTA participants were less pronounced in the high-trait anxiety (HTA) group, while the enhancement of the visual P1 seen in the LTA group was further augmented in the HTA group. This represents a clear dissociation across anxiety groups between rapid attentional processing as reflected by the visual P1 and later strategic processing as reflected by fronto-central and EPN components. These effects of high-trait anxiety in potentiating initial threat evaluation but attenuating later cognitive processing are discussed in the context of the possible roles of neural systems underlying threat evaluation, cognitive avoidance, and differentiated affective responses.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Attention, Brain mechanisms, Emotional expression, Face processing, Perception
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Psychological Sciences
    Depositing User: Administrator
    Date Deposited: 16 Feb 2016 10:22
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:21


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