Background: Previous studies suggested that affective state could enhance stimulus salience and modulate attention allocation for mood-congruent information, but contrasting data have been reported on the effects of mood induction on attentional biases for threat (ABTs) in non-clinical individuals. Objective: We aimed to assess whether laboratory-induced negative mood can increase individuals’ tendency to allocate attention on threatening stimuli, thus determining a difficulty in attentional disengagement from threat. We also aimed at assessing whether level of trait anxiety could modulate the effect of mood induction on attentional biases. Methods: We used an autobiographical episode recall procedure for mood induction (fear, happiness and neutral episode recall), and an exogenous cueing task with threatening and non-threatening images to assess attentional biases in 120 undergraduate students. Results: Participants showed a significant difficulty in disengaging attention from threat after recalling fear-related episodes, independently from their trait anxiety level. Conclusions: These findings clarify that the ABTs are not exclusive to anxiety disorders or high trait anxiety individuals, and could also arise in non-clinical individuals in a fearful context.

Attentional biases for threat after fear-related autobiographical recall

Sagliano, Laura;TROJANO, Luigi;D'OLIMPIO, Francesca
2018

Abstract

Background: Previous studies suggested that affective state could enhance stimulus salience and modulate attention allocation for mood-congruent information, but contrasting data have been reported on the effects of mood induction on attentional biases for threat (ABTs) in non-clinical individuals. Objective: We aimed to assess whether laboratory-induced negative mood can increase individuals’ tendency to allocate attention on threatening stimuli, thus determining a difficulty in attentional disengagement from threat. We also aimed at assessing whether level of trait anxiety could modulate the effect of mood induction on attentional biases. Methods: We used an autobiographical episode recall procedure for mood induction (fear, happiness and neutral episode recall), and an exogenous cueing task with threatening and non-threatening images to assess attentional biases in 120 undergraduate students. Results: Participants showed a significant difficulty in disengaging attention from threat after recalling fear-related episodes, independently from their trait anxiety level. Conclusions: These findings clarify that the ABTs are not exclusive to anxiety disorders or high trait anxiety individuals, and could also arise in non-clinical individuals in a fearful context.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11591/377985
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