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Fearful faces influence attentional control processes in anxious youth and adults

Ladouceur, Cecile D., Silk, Jennifer S., Dahl, Ronald E., Ostapenko, Laura, Kronhaus, Dina M. and Phillips, Mary Louise 2009. Fearful faces influence attentional control processes in anxious youth and adults. Emotion 9 (6) , pp. 855-864. 10.1037/a0017747

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This study examined the effects of trait anxiety and age on performance of an emotional working memory task designed to investigate attentional control processes in the context of emotion. Participants included children, adolescents, and adults (8–30 years old). They performed the Emotional Face N-Back (EFNBACK) task, a modified n-back working memory task with four emotional distracter types (no picture, neutral, fearful, and happy) and two memory-load conditions (0-back and 2-back), and completed self-report trait anxiety measures. Results indicated that participants high in trait anxiety had slower reaction times on the fearful 2-back memory-load condition. A significant interaction with age indicated that this effect was greater in the younger participants. These findings suggest that anxious individuals, particularly younger ones, exhibit difficulty resisting interference from threat-related stimuli when greater attentional resources are being recruited.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Publisher: American Psychological Association
ISSN: 1931-1516
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2016 22:53

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