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Face Your Fears: Attentional Biases Toward Emotional Faces Depend on Specific Low-Level Anxiety Symptoms
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Category: Emotion | Stress
by Aaron Shillingâ€”Western Illinois University; and Sheryl Remingerâ€”University of Illinois at Springfield
This study investigated the effects of emotional facial expressions, social anxiety, and negative self-evaluation on attention in a nonclinical sample (N = 35). Participants completed the Self-Consciousness Scale (Fenigstein, Scheier, & Buss, 1975), the Brief Fear of Negative Evaluation Scale (Leary, 1983), and a dot-probe task that measured attentional biases for emotional facial expressions. Results showed that attentional biases for emotional faces were moderated by social anxiety, specifically the negative self-evaluation component. These findings support Rapee and Heimbergâ€™s (1997) model of social phobia and Fenigstein et al.â€™s (1975) theory of social anxiety. Furthermore, they elucidate the components of social anxiety sufficient to direct visual attention and suggest that social anxiety should be controlled in future research.