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Gepubliceerd in: Psychological Research 3/2021

28-03-2020 | Original Article

The influence of threat on the efficiency of goal-directed attentional control

Auteurs: Andy Jeesu Kim, David S. Lee, Brian A. Anderson

Gepubliceerd in: Psychological Research | Uitgave 3/2021

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Abstract

Anxiety has consistently been found to potentiate attentional capture by physically salient stimuli, which could be due to enhanced distractor processing, impaired goal-directed attention, or both. At the same time, a recent study demonstrated that a threat manipulation reduces attentional capture by reward-associated stimuli, suggesting that anxiety does not increase distractibility or, otherwise, interfere with the control of attention generally. Here, we experimentally induced anxiety via threat-of-shock in the adaptive choice visual search task to examine whether the experience of threat influences goal-directed attentional control. Participants chose to search through one of two task-relevant colors on each trial, where searching through the less abundant color would be optimal for maximizing performance. Performance was evaluated with and without the threat of unpredictable electric shock. Under threat, participants were more optimal in their visual search and missed fewer targets. Performance improvements were demonstrated on trials that the optimal target color switched, demonstrating that threat is beneficial in adapting to changing attentional demands. Our findings demonstrate that threat can facilitate the efficiency of goal-directed attentional control and are at odds with an antagonistic relationship between anxiety and the control of attention.

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Metagegevens
Titel
The influence of threat on the efficiency of goal-directed attentional control
Auteurs
Andy Jeesu Kim
David S. Lee
Brian A. Anderson
Publicatiedatum
28-03-2020
Uitgeverij
Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Gepubliceerd in
Psychological Research / Uitgave 3/2021
Print ISSN: 0340-0727
Elektronisch ISSN: 1430-2772
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s00426-020-01321-4