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Percept Mot Skills. 2003 Dec;97(3 Pt 1):971-8.

Perceptual defense in anxiety disorders.

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University of Lausanne, Switzerland.


Prior research by MacLeod and Rutherford (1992) indicates that anxious subjects could have perceptual strategies different from nonanxious subjects. 42 verbal stimuli of six types (disease, social anxiety, panic, agoraphobia, obsessive-compulsive, and neutral) were tachistoscopically presented to three groups of subjects, aged 18 to 60 years: Panic Disorder group (n=21: 13 women and 8 men), and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder group (n=20: 14 women and 6 men), recruited from an outpatient clinic, and a Control group (n=22: 14 women and 8 men), recruited among students and hospital staff. The times required for correct identification were generally longer for anxious subjects but quicker for stimuli specifically related to their disorder. The data could indicate a two-step perceptual strategy or two distinct ways of perceiving, usually, a generalized perceptual defense for a majority of anxiety-loaded stimuli, but also a selectively facilitated processing for stimuli specific to the disorder.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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