The Effects of Social Anxiety and State Anxiety on Visual Attention: Testing the Vigilance–Avoidance Hypothesis

J. Suzanne Singh, Michelle C. Capozzoli, Michael D Dodd, Debra A Hope

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A growing theoretical and research literature suggests that trait and state social anxiety can predict attentional patterns in the presence of emotional stimuli. The current study adds to this literature by examining the effects of state anxiety on visual attention and testing the vigilance–avoidance hypothesis, using a method of continuous visual attentional assessment. Participants were 91 undergraduate college students with high or low trait fear of negative evaluation (FNE), a core aspect of social anxiety, who were randomly assigned to either a high or low state anxiety condition. Participants engaged in a free view task in which pairs of emotional facial stimuli were presented and eye movements were continuously monitored. Overall, participants with high FNE avoided angry stimuli and participants with high state anxiety attended to positive stimuli. Participants with high state anxiety and high FNE were avoidant of angry faces, whereas participants with low state and low FNE exhibited a bias toward angry faces. The study provided partial support for the vigilance–avoidance hypothesis. The findings add to the mixed results in the literature that suggest that both positive and negative emotional stimuli may be important in understanding the complex attention patterns associated with social anxiety. Clinical implications and suggestions for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)377-388
Number of pages12
JournalCognitive Behaviour Therapy
Volume44
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 3 2015

Fingerprint

Anxiety
Fear
Eye Movements
Students
Research

Keywords

  • attention
  • eyetracking
  • social anxiety
  • threat
  • vigilance–avoidance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology

Cite this

The Effects of Social Anxiety and State Anxiety on Visual Attention : Testing the Vigilance–Avoidance Hypothesis. / Singh, J. Suzanne; Capozzoli, Michelle C.; Dodd, Michael D; Hope, Debra A.

In: Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Vol. 44, No. 5, 03.09.2015, p. 377-388.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{ca0a847d4f84460db621ba070a0cd361,
title = "The Effects of Social Anxiety and State Anxiety on Visual Attention: Testing the Vigilance–Avoidance Hypothesis",
abstract = "A growing theoretical and research literature suggests that trait and state social anxiety can predict attentional patterns in the presence of emotional stimuli. The current study adds to this literature by examining the effects of state anxiety on visual attention and testing the vigilance–avoidance hypothesis, using a method of continuous visual attentional assessment. Participants were 91 undergraduate college students with high or low trait fear of negative evaluation (FNE), a core aspect of social anxiety, who were randomly assigned to either a high or low state anxiety condition. Participants engaged in a free view task in which pairs of emotional facial stimuli were presented and eye movements were continuously monitored. Overall, participants with high FNE avoided angry stimuli and participants with high state anxiety attended to positive stimuli. Participants with high state anxiety and high FNE were avoidant of angry faces, whereas participants with low state and low FNE exhibited a bias toward angry faces. The study provided partial support for the vigilance–avoidance hypothesis. The findings add to the mixed results in the literature that suggest that both positive and negative emotional stimuli may be important in understanding the complex attention patterns associated with social anxiety. Clinical implications and suggestions for future research are discussed.",
keywords = "attention, eyetracking, social anxiety, threat, vigilance–avoidance",
author = "Singh, {J. Suzanne} and Capozzoli, {Michelle C.} and Dodd, {Michael D} and Hope, {Debra A}",
year = "2015",
month = "9",
day = "3",
doi = "10.1080/16506073.2015.1016447",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "44",
pages = "377--388",
journal = "Cognitive Behaviour Therapy",
issn = "1650-6073",
publisher = "Taylor and Francis AS",
number = "5",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - The Effects of Social Anxiety and State Anxiety on Visual Attention

T2 - Testing the Vigilance–Avoidance Hypothesis

AU - Singh, J. Suzanne

AU - Capozzoli, Michelle C.

AU - Dodd, Michael D

AU - Hope, Debra A

PY - 2015/9/3

Y1 - 2015/9/3

N2 - A growing theoretical and research literature suggests that trait and state social anxiety can predict attentional patterns in the presence of emotional stimuli. The current study adds to this literature by examining the effects of state anxiety on visual attention and testing the vigilance–avoidance hypothesis, using a method of continuous visual attentional assessment. Participants were 91 undergraduate college students with high or low trait fear of negative evaluation (FNE), a core aspect of social anxiety, who were randomly assigned to either a high or low state anxiety condition. Participants engaged in a free view task in which pairs of emotional facial stimuli were presented and eye movements were continuously monitored. Overall, participants with high FNE avoided angry stimuli and participants with high state anxiety attended to positive stimuli. Participants with high state anxiety and high FNE were avoidant of angry faces, whereas participants with low state and low FNE exhibited a bias toward angry faces. The study provided partial support for the vigilance–avoidance hypothesis. The findings add to the mixed results in the literature that suggest that both positive and negative emotional stimuli may be important in understanding the complex attention patterns associated with social anxiety. Clinical implications and suggestions for future research are discussed.

AB - A growing theoretical and research literature suggests that trait and state social anxiety can predict attentional patterns in the presence of emotional stimuli. The current study adds to this literature by examining the effects of state anxiety on visual attention and testing the vigilance–avoidance hypothesis, using a method of continuous visual attentional assessment. Participants were 91 undergraduate college students with high or low trait fear of negative evaluation (FNE), a core aspect of social anxiety, who were randomly assigned to either a high or low state anxiety condition. Participants engaged in a free view task in which pairs of emotional facial stimuli were presented and eye movements were continuously monitored. Overall, participants with high FNE avoided angry stimuli and participants with high state anxiety attended to positive stimuli. Participants with high state anxiety and high FNE were avoidant of angry faces, whereas participants with low state and low FNE exhibited a bias toward angry faces. The study provided partial support for the vigilance–avoidance hypothesis. The findings add to the mixed results in the literature that suggest that both positive and negative emotional stimuli may be important in understanding the complex attention patterns associated with social anxiety. Clinical implications and suggestions for future research are discussed.

KW - attention

KW - eyetracking

KW - social anxiety

KW - threat

KW - vigilance–avoidance

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84941809314&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84941809314&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1080/16506073.2015.1016447

DO - 10.1080/16506073.2015.1016447

M3 - Article

C2 - 25767901

AN - SCOPUS:84941809314

VL - 44

SP - 377

EP - 388

JO - Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

JF - Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

SN - 1650-6073

IS - 5

ER -