Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Biol Psychol. 2010 Mar;83(3):269-71. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2009.08.009. Epub 2009 Aug 31.

Variations in the serotonin-transporter gene are associated with attention bias patterns to positive and negative emotion faces.

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychology, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA 22030, United States.


Both attention biases to threat and a serotonin-transporter gene polymorphism (5-HTTLPR) have been linked to heightened neural activation to threat and the emergence of anxiety. The short allele of 5-HTTLPR may act via its effect on neurotransmitter availability, while attention biases shape broad patterns of cognitive processing. We examined individual differences in attention bias to emotion faces as a function of 5-HTTLPR genotype. Adolescents (N=117) were classified for presumed SLC6A4 expression based on 5-HTTLPR-low (SS, SL(G), or L(G)L(G)), intermediate (SL(A) or L(A)L(G)), or high (L(A)L(A)). Participants completed the dot-probe task, measuring attention biases toward or away from angry and happy faces. Biases for angry faces increased with the genotype-predicted neurotransmission levels (low>intermediate>high). The reverse pattern was evident for happy faces. The data indicate a linear relation between 5-HTTLPR allelic status and attention biases to emotion, demonstrating a genetic mechanism for biased attention using ecologically valid stimuli that target socioemotional adaptation.

Copyright 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk