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Gender Difference of Unconscious Attentional Bias in High Trait Anxiety Individuals

By Jieqing Tan, Zheng Ma, Xiaochao Gao, Yanhong Wu and Fang Fang


By combining binocular suppression technique and a probe detection paradigm, we investigated attentional bias to invisible stimuli and its gender difference in both high trait anxiety (HTA) and low trait anxiety (LTA) individuals. As an attentional cue, happy or fearful face pictures were presented to HTAs and LTAs for 800 ms either consciously or unconsciously (through binocular suppression). Participants were asked to judge the orientation of a gabor patch following the face pictures. Their performance was used to measure attentional effect induced by the cue. We found gender differences of attentional effect only in the unconscious condition with HTAs. Female HTAs exhibited difficulty in disengaging attention from the location where fearful faces were presented, while male HTAs showed attentional avoidance of it. Our results suggested that the failure to find attentional avoidance of threatening stimuli in many previous studies might be attributed to consciously presented stimuli and data analysis regardless of participants' gender. These findings also contributed to our understanding of gender difference in anxiety disorder

Topics: Research Article
Publisher: Public Library of Science
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Provided by: PubMed Central

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