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Emotion. 2005 Sep;5(3):365-9.

Attentional bias to pictures of fear-relevant animals in a dot probe task.

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School of Psychology, University of Queensland, Queensland, Australia.


Attentional bias to fear-relevant animals was assessed in 69 participants not preselected on self-reported anxiety with the use of a dot probe task showing pictures of snakes, spiders, mushrooms, and flowers. Probes that replaced the fear-relevant stimuli (snakes and spiders) were found faster than probes that replaced the non-fear-relevant stimuli, indicating an attentional bias in the entire sample. The bias was not correlated with self-reported state or trait anxiety or with general fearfulness. Participants reporting higher levels of spider fear showed an enhanced bias to spiders, but the bias remained significant in low scorers. The bias to snake pictures was not related to snake fear and was significant in high and low scorers. These results indicate preferential processing of fear-relevant stimuli in an unselected sample.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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