Donnerstag, 10. Januar 2019, 17:00 - 18:30 iCal

Your smile caught my eye:

Attentional bias towards emotional faces in the general population

Talk of Dr. Benedikt Wirth (Saarland University)

Fakultät für Psychologie, Hörsaal G, 2. Stock (linke Stiege)
Liebigasse 5, 1010 Wien


Emotional faces are undoubtedly an important signal in everyday life. Therefore, a large amount of research from different psychological sub-disciplines has investigated the question as to whether human visual attention is biased towards emotional faces. So far, however, this research has yielded inconsistent results. Prominent models of emotional attention claim that emotional expressions capture attention in all individuals; either because of their important role during human evolution, because of their high potential to elicit arousal, or because of their general relevance to individuals. In contrast, clinical theories of anxiety claim that only anxious individuals show a bias towards emotional (especially threatening) faces, while the general population does not. Consequently, these theories claim that this bias is a key component of abnormal cognitive processing in anxiety and might even be a causal factor for the onset of anxiety disorders.

In this talk, I will present several studies that used different variants of the dot-probe task to investigate whether the general population (that consists mainly of non-anxious individuals) does show an attentional bias towards emotional faces after all. Moreover, these studies aim to explain the reason for the discrepant findings described above by identifying potential preconditions for the occurrence of such a bias in the general population.



Department of Basic Psychological Research and Research Methods (Cognitive Psychology)


Abla Marie-Jose Bedi
Institut für Psychologische Grundlagenforschung und Forschungsmethoden