Interpretive bias in social phobia:An ERP study with morphed emotional schematic faces

Kolassa, Iris- Tatjana and Kolassa, Stephan and Bergmann, Sandra and Lauche, Romy and Dilger, Stefan and Miltner, W.H.R. (2009) Interpretive bias in social phobia:An ERP study with morphed emotional schematic faces. Cognition and Emotion, 23 (1). pp. 69-95. ISSN 0269-9931

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Individuals with social phobia fear negative evaluation, which is most directly signalled by an angry expression of the interlocutor's face. This study investigated the processing of 3 series of schematic emotional faces, which were morphed in 7 steps from a neutral face to an angry, happy, or sad face by systematically varying features of the mouth, eyes, and eyebrows. Individuals with social phobia or spider phobia rated angry faces as more arousing than controls. Social phobics did not identify angry faces faster and showed no greater latent trait to identify a face as angry than controls. ERP data showed a modulation of the face-specific N170 by facial emotion, although this did not discriminate social phobics from controls. Instead, phobic subjects exhibited generally increased visual P1 amplitudes, suggesting a state of hypervigilance for incoming stimuli. Results are discussed in the context of psychophysiological abnormalities in the anxiety disorder spectrum.

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Journal Article
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Cognition and Emotion
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22 Jun 2019 09:14
Last Modified:
18 Sep 2023 01:36