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Gender difference of unconscious attentional bias in high trait anxiety individuals.

Tan J, Ma Z, Gao X, Wu Y, Fang F - PLoS ONE (2011)

Bottom Line: 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.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.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, Peking University, Beijing, China.

ABSTRACT
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.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

A sample stimulus in the invisible condition.The left image was presented to the non-dominant eye and the right image was presented to the dominant eye.
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pone-0020305-g001: A sample stimulus in the invisible condition.The left image was presented to the non-dominant eye and the right image was presented to the dominant eye.

Mentions: Stimuli were presented on a 17-inch SAMSUNG monitor (1280×1024). The two eyes' images were displayed side-by-side on the monitor and fused using a mirror stereoscope mounted on a chinrest. A frame (10.7°×10.7°) that extended beyond the outer border of the stimulus and fixation point was presented to facilitate stable convergence of the two eyes' images. The viewing distance was 40 cm. Each trial began with fixation on a central cross (0.8°×0.8°) presented to each eye. In the invisible condition, a pair of identical high contrast dynamic noise patches was presented to the observer's dominant eye and a pair of intact and scrambled images to the non-dominant eye (see Figure 1). Each image subtended 4.1°×6.2° of visual angle and was presented for 800 ms, and the horizontal distance between the centers of this pair of images was 5.8°. In this condition, observers perceived identical noise patches on both sides and were unaware of which side contained the intact or scrambled image. The visible condition was the same as the invisible condition except that the pair of dynamic noise patches that were presented to the observers' dominant eye was replaced with the same pair of intact and scrambled images that were presented to the non-dominant eye. Hence, observers could perceive the intact and scrambled images instead of the noise patches. The stimulus presentation was followed by a 100-ms interstimulus interval in which only the fixation was displayed, and then a small gabor patch (2.5°×2.5°) was presented for 100 ms as a probe in the position that either the intact or scrambled image previously occupied. The gabor patch was tilted one degree clockwise or counter-clockwise, and the participants were required to press one of two buttons to indicate their perceived orientation of the gabor patch regardless of the side of presentation (see Figure 2).


Gender difference of unconscious attentional bias in high trait anxiety individuals.

Tan J, Ma Z, Gao X, Wu Y, Fang F - PLoS ONE (2011)

A sample stimulus in the invisible condition.The left image was presented to the non-dominant eye and the right image was presented to the dominant eye.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3101250&req=5

pone-0020305-g001: A sample stimulus in the invisible condition.The left image was presented to the non-dominant eye and the right image was presented to the dominant eye.
Mentions: Stimuli were presented on a 17-inch SAMSUNG monitor (1280×1024). The two eyes' images were displayed side-by-side on the monitor and fused using a mirror stereoscope mounted on a chinrest. A frame (10.7°×10.7°) that extended beyond the outer border of the stimulus and fixation point was presented to facilitate stable convergence of the two eyes' images. The viewing distance was 40 cm. Each trial began with fixation on a central cross (0.8°×0.8°) presented to each eye. In the invisible condition, a pair of identical high contrast dynamic noise patches was presented to the observer's dominant eye and a pair of intact and scrambled images to the non-dominant eye (see Figure 1). Each image subtended 4.1°×6.2° of visual angle and was presented for 800 ms, and the horizontal distance between the centers of this pair of images was 5.8°. In this condition, observers perceived identical noise patches on both sides and were unaware of which side contained the intact or scrambled image. The visible condition was the same as the invisible condition except that the pair of dynamic noise patches that were presented to the observers' dominant eye was replaced with the same pair of intact and scrambled images that were presented to the non-dominant eye. Hence, observers could perceive the intact and scrambled images instead of the noise patches. The stimulus presentation was followed by a 100-ms interstimulus interval in which only the fixation was displayed, and then a small gabor patch (2.5°×2.5°) was presented for 100 ms as a probe in the position that either the intact or scrambled image previously occupied. The gabor patch was tilted one degree clockwise or counter-clockwise, and the participants were required to press one of two buttons to indicate their perceived orientation of the gabor patch regardless of the side of presentation (see Figure 2).

Bottom Line: 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.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.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, Peking University, Beijing, China.

ABSTRACT
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.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus