The time course of attentional bias for emotional faces in anxious children

Allison M. Waters, Liza L. Kokkoris, Karin Mogg, Brendan P. Bradley, Daniel S. Pine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Citations (Scopus)


The present study investigated the time course of attentional bias for angry and happy faces in 50 primary school children (9 to 12 years). That is, the study examined the degree to which an anxiety-related attentional bias was moderated by the duration of threat exposure. Using a visual-probe task, children were shown angry and happy faces paired with neutral ones over two exposure durations: 500 and 1250 ms. Results revealed that higher levels of anxiety were associated with an attentional bias towards angry faces across the 500 ms and 1250 ms exposure durations. There were no effects of children's anxiety or stimulus exposure duration on attentional bias for happy faces. Results are discussed in relation to threat-monitoring versus vigilance-avoidance patterns of attentional bias, and developmental considerations, including comparison with findings from studies of anxiety-related attentional biases in adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1173-1181
Number of pages9
JournalCognition and Emotion
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Anxiety
  • Attentional bias
  • Children
  • Emotional faces

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