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You don't like me, do you? Enhanced ERP responses to averted eye gaze in social anxiety


Schmitz, J; Scheel, Corinna N; Rigon, A; Gross, J J; Blechert, J (2012). You don't like me, do you? Enhanced ERP responses to averted eye gaze in social anxiety. Biological Psychology, 91(2):263-269.

Abstract

Social anxiety is associated with an attentional bias toward angry and fearful faces, along with an enhanced processing of faces per se. However, little is known about the processing of gaze direction, a subtle but important social cue. Participants with high or low social anxiety (HSA/LSA) observed eye pairs with direct or averted gaze while subjective ratings and event-related potentials (ERPs) were measured. Behaviorally, all participants rated averted gaze as more unpleasant than direct gaze. Neurally, only HSA participants showed a trend for higher P100 amplitudes to averted gaze and significantly enhanced processing at late latencies (Late positive potential [LPP]), indicative of a specific processing bias for averted gaze. Furthermore, HSA individuals showed enhanced processing of both direct and averted gaze relative to the LSA group at intermediate latencies (Early posterior negativity [EPN]). Both general and specific attentional biases play a role in social anxiety. Averted gaze--potential sign of disinterest--deserves more attention in the attentional bias literature.

Abstract

Social anxiety is associated with an attentional bias toward angry and fearful faces, along with an enhanced processing of faces per se. However, little is known about the processing of gaze direction, a subtle but important social cue. Participants with high or low social anxiety (HSA/LSA) observed eye pairs with direct or averted gaze while subjective ratings and event-related potentials (ERPs) were measured. Behaviorally, all participants rated averted gaze as more unpleasant than direct gaze. Neurally, only HSA participants showed a trend for higher P100 amplitudes to averted gaze and significantly enhanced processing at late latencies (Late positive potential [LPP]), indicative of a specific processing bias for averted gaze. Furthermore, HSA individuals showed enhanced processing of both direct and averted gaze relative to the LSA group at intermediate latencies (Early posterior negativity [EPN]). Both general and specific attentional biases play a role in social anxiety. Averted gaze--potential sign of disinterest--deserves more attention in the attentional bias literature.

Citations

11 citations in Web of Science®
11 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:2012
Deposited On:12 Nov 2014 16:23
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 18:29
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0301-0511
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsycho.2012.07.004
PubMed ID:22820039

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