Terror mismanagement: evidence that mortality salience exacerbates attentional bias in social anxiety

Emma C. Finch, Lisa Iverach, Ross G. Menzies, Mark Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Death anxiety is a basic fear underlying a range of psychological conditions, and has been found to increase avoidance in social anxiety. Given that attentional bias is a core feature of social anxiety, the aim of the present study was to examine the impact of mortality salience (MS) on attentional bias in social anxiety. Participants were 36 socially anxious and 37 non-socially anxious individuals, randomly allocated to a MS or control condition. An eye-tracking procedure assessed initial bias towards, and late-stage avoidance of, socially threatening facial expressions. As predicted, socially anxious participants in the MS condition demonstrated significantly more initial bias to social threat than non-socially anxious participants in the MS condition and socially anxious participants in the control condition. However, this effect was not found for late-stage avoidance of social threat. These findings suggest that reminders of death may heighten initial vigilance towards social threat.

LanguageEnglish
Pages1370-1379
Number of pages10
JournalCognition and Emotion
Volume30
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Fingerprint

Anxiety
Mortality
Facial Expression
Fear
Psychology
Attentional Bias
Terror
Threat
Avoidance

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2015. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

Keywords

  • mortality salience
  • death anxiety
  • terror management theory
  • social anxiety
  • attentional bias

Cite this

Finch, Emma C. ; Iverach, Lisa ; Menzies, Ross G. ; Jones, Mark. / Terror mismanagement : evidence that mortality salience exacerbates attentional bias in social anxiety. In: Cognition and Emotion. 2016 ; Vol. 30, No. 7. pp. 1370-1379.
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Terror mismanagement : evidence that mortality salience exacerbates attentional bias in social anxiety. / Finch, Emma C.; Iverach, Lisa; Menzies, Ross G.; Jones, Mark.

In: Cognition and Emotion, Vol. 30, No. 7, 2016, p. 1370-1379.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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AU - Finch, Emma C.

AU - Iverach, Lisa

AU - Menzies, Ross G.

AU - Jones, Mark

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