Bantin, Trisha, Stevens, Stephan, Gerlach, Alexander L. ORCID: 0000-0001-6794-5349 and Hermann, Christiane (2016). What does the facial dot-probe task tell us about attentional processes in social anxiety? A systematic review. J. Behav. Ther. Exp. Psychiatry, 50. S. 40 - 52. OXFORD: PERGAMON-ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD. ISSN 1873-7943

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Abstract

Background/objectives: Current models of SAD assume that attentional processes play a pivotal role in the etiology and maintenance of social anxiety disorder. Social anxiety is supposedly associated with an attentional bias towards disorder related stimuli such as threatening faces. Using the facial dot probe task in socially anxious individuals has, however, revealed inconsistent findings. Methods: The current systematic review aims at disentangling the heterogeneous findings using effect sizes across results by systematically taking into account potential moderating variables (stimulus type, stimulus duration, situational anxiety, disorder severity). Results: Results provide some evidence that socially anxious individuals preferentially allocate their attention towards threat faces compared to non-anxious controls. This bias seems to depend on the type of reference stimulus, stimulus duration and clinical level of social anxiety. Avoidance of threat was neither found at early, nor at later stages of attentional processing. Limitations: Importantly, the results have to be considered in the light of the only few studies available. Given the heterogeneity of results and some methodological restrictions of the studies included, the picture of attentional bias seems to be much less clear than suggested in the recent social anxiety literature. Conclusions: Methodologically, combined measures of dot-probe and eye movement measures might be beneficial to detect overt attentional biases. Importantly, our results show that preferential processing of threat cues might guide early attentional processes in social anxiety, depending however on several contextual and situational factors. Clinically, patients with greater severity of SAD may be more prone to such an attentional bias, thus therapists should take this into account when planning behavioral experiments and exposure therapy. (c) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Item Type: Journal Article
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCIDORCID Put Code
Bantin, TrishaUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Stevens, StephanUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Gerlach, Alexander L.UNSPECIFIEDorcid.org/0000-0001-6794-5349UNSPECIFIED
Hermann, ChristianeUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
URN: urn:nbn:de:hbz:38-283796
DOI: 10.1016/j.jbtep.2015.04.009
Journal or Publication Title: J. Behav. Ther. Exp. Psychiatry
Volume: 50
Page Range: S. 40 - 52
Date: 2016
Publisher: PERGAMON-ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD
Place of Publication: OXFORD
ISSN: 1873-7943
Language: English
Faculty: Unspecified
Divisions: Unspecified
Subjects: no entry
Uncontrolled Keywords:
KeywordsLanguage
SELECTIVE ATTENTION; THREATENING FACES; TIME-COURSE; BIAS; PHOBIA; INDIVIDUALS; INFORMATION; VIGILANCE; STIMULI; ALCOHOLMultiple languages
Psychology, Clinical; PsychiatryMultiple languages
Refereed: Yes
URI: http://kups.ub.uni-koeln.de/id/eprint/28379

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