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J Behav Ther Exp Psychiatry. 2009 Jun;40(2):306-16. doi: 10.1016/j.jbtep.2008.12.008. Epub 2008 Dec 25.

Attentional bias for emotional faces in paediatric anxiety disorders: an investigation using the emotional Go/No Go task.

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  • 1School of Psychology, Griffith University, Gold Coast Qld, Australia. a.waters@griffith.edu.au



The present study examined contextual modulation of attentional control processes in paediatric anxiety disorders.


Anxious children (N=20) and non-anxious controls (N=20) completed an emotional Go/No Go task in which they responded on some trials (i.e., Go trials) when neutral faces were presented amongst either angry or happy faces to which children avoided responding (i.e., No Go trials) or when angry and happy faces were presented as Go trials and children avoided responding to neutral faces.


Anxious girls were slower responding to neutral faces with embedded angry compared with happy face No Go trials whereas non-anxious girls were slower responding to neutral faces with embedded happy versus angry face No Go trials. Anxious and non-anxious boys showed the same basic pattern as non-anxious girls. There were no significant group differences on No Go trials or when the emotional faces were presented as Go trials.


Results are discussed in terms of selective interference by angry faces in the control of attention in anxious girls.

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