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Processing of facial affect under social threat in socially anxious adults: mood matters

By S. Leber, T. Heidenreich, U. Stangier and S.G. Hofmann


Item does not contain fulltextBackground: An important function of the human face is to communicate approval or disapproval toward others. Because socially anxious individuals are overly concerned about disapproval by others, it has been hypothesized that those individuals are faster at processing negative, specifically angry facial expressions than nonanxious individuals, especially under conditions of social threat. Method: To test this hypothesis, 25 socially anxious individuals and 24 nonanxious controls were asked to classify facial expressions associated with anger, sadness, fear, disgust, happiness, and surprise. Half of the participants performed this task while being confronted with social threat. Results: High socially anxious participants were faster than controls at classifying angry, sad, and fearful faces when confronted with social threat. No group difference was observed under the no-threat condition. Conclusions: The findings suggest that socially anxious individuals are more hypervigilant toward threat-related social cues, and that the processing of facial affect is dependent on the person's emotional state

Topics: Experimental Psychopathology and Treatment
Publisher: 'Wiley'
Year: 2009
DOI identifier: 10.1002/da.20525
OAI identifier:
Provided by: Radboud Repository
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