We investigated whether detection of fearful stimuli is independent from attention by using an iconic version of the Attentional Blink Task in arachnophobic individuals. A colored animal icon (Target) and a black spider or butterfly icon (Probe) appeared in close temporal proximity within a stream of distractors, at one of 4 possible time lags. In one task, Probe detection was required; in another one, Target identification was also requested. In this case, competition for attentional resources produces the so-called AB effect, that is the decrease of Probe perception as a function of lag. During spider-Probe detection, arachnophobics showed a reduced AB effect with respect to the butterfly-Probe session. Their spider detection scores were also greater than ratings obtained by non-phobic controls with both Probe types. Thus, fear appears to enhance the probability of consciously perceiving the stimulus even when attention is engaged by a previous demanding event. One may assume that spider-Probe is scarcely attention demanding because detection of threat in arachnophobics is increased by rapid amygdala activation of visual areas and/or facilitated by a strong arousal-induced noradrenergic cortical input. Alternatively, an attention capturing mechanism involuntary triggered by the phobic meaning of the stimulus could be hypothesized.
|Autori interni:||GEMIGNANI, ANGELO|
|Autori:||D'ALESSANDRO L; GEMIGNANI A; CASTELLANI E; SEBASTIANI L|
|Titolo:||Be(a)ware of spider! An Attentional Blink study on fear detection|
|Anno del prodotto:||2009|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|