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Gaze direction differentially affects avoidance tendencies to happy and angry faces in socially anxious individuals.
Behav Res Ther. 2010 Apr; 48(4):290-4.BR

Abstract

Increasing evidence indicates that eye gaze direction affects the processing of emotional faces in anxious individuals. However, the effects of eye gaze direction on the behavioral responses elicited by emotional faces, such as avoidance behavior, remain largely unexplored. We administered an Approach-Avoidance Task (AAT) in high (HSA) and low socially anxious (LSA) individuals. All participants responded to photographs of angry, happy and neutral faces (presented with direct and averted gaze), by either pushing a joystick away from them (avoidance) or pulling it towards them (approach). Compared to LSA, HSA were faster in avoiding than approaching angry faces. Most crucially, this avoidance tendency was only present when the perceived anger was directed towards the subject (direct gaze) and not when the gaze of the face-stimulus was averted. In contrast, HSA individuals tended to avoid happy faces irrespectively of gaze direction. Neutral faces elicited no approach-avoidance tendencies. Thus avoidance of angry faces in social anxiety as measured by AA-tasks reflects avoidance of subject-directed anger and not of negative stimuli in general. In addition, although both anger and joy are considered to reflect approach-related emotions, gaze direction did not affect HSA's avoidance of happy faces, suggesting differential mechanisms affecting responses to happy and angry faces in social anxiety.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Leiden University Institute for Psychological Research, Clinical Psychology Unit, The Netherlands. Roelofs@fsw.leidenuniv.nlNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info availableNo affiliation info available

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Language

eng

PubMed ID

19962692

Citation

Roelofs, Karin, et al. "Gaze Direction Differentially Affects Avoidance Tendencies to Happy and Angry Faces in Socially Anxious Individuals." Behaviour Research and Therapy, vol. 48, no. 4, 2010, pp. 290-4.
Roelofs K, Putman P, Schouten S, et al. Gaze direction differentially affects avoidance tendencies to happy and angry faces in socially anxious individuals. Behav Res Ther. 2010;48(4):290-4.
Roelofs, K., Putman, P., Schouten, S., Lange, W. G., Volman, I., & Rinck, M. (2010). Gaze direction differentially affects avoidance tendencies to happy and angry faces in socially anxious individuals. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 48(4), 290-4. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brat.2009.11.008
Roelofs K, et al. Gaze Direction Differentially Affects Avoidance Tendencies to Happy and Angry Faces in Socially Anxious Individuals. Behav Res Ther. 2010;48(4):290-4. PubMed PMID: 19962692.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Gaze direction differentially affects avoidance tendencies to happy and angry faces in socially anxious individuals. AU - Roelofs,Karin, AU - Putman,Peter, AU - Schouten,Sonja, AU - Lange,Wolf-Gero, AU - Volman,Inge, AU - Rinck,Mike, Y1 - 2009/11/18/ PY - 2009/03/23/received PY - 2009/10/29/revised PY - 2009/11/12/accepted PY - 2009/12/8/entrez PY - 2009/12/8/pubmed PY - 2010/6/22/medline SP - 290 EP - 4 JF - Behaviour research and therapy JO - Behav Res Ther VL - 48 IS - 4 N2 - Increasing evidence indicates that eye gaze direction affects the processing of emotional faces in anxious individuals. However, the effects of eye gaze direction on the behavioral responses elicited by emotional faces, such as avoidance behavior, remain largely unexplored. We administered an Approach-Avoidance Task (AAT) in high (HSA) and low socially anxious (LSA) individuals. All participants responded to photographs of angry, happy and neutral faces (presented with direct and averted gaze), by either pushing a joystick away from them (avoidance) or pulling it towards them (approach). Compared to LSA, HSA were faster in avoiding than approaching angry faces. Most crucially, this avoidance tendency was only present when the perceived anger was directed towards the subject (direct gaze) and not when the gaze of the face-stimulus was averted. In contrast, HSA individuals tended to avoid happy faces irrespectively of gaze direction. Neutral faces elicited no approach-avoidance tendencies. Thus avoidance of angry faces in social anxiety as measured by AA-tasks reflects avoidance of subject-directed anger and not of negative stimuli in general. In addition, although both anger and joy are considered to reflect approach-related emotions, gaze direction did not affect HSA's avoidance of happy faces, suggesting differential mechanisms affecting responses to happy and angry faces in social anxiety. SN - 1873-622X UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/19962692/Gaze_direction_differentially_affects_avoidance_tendencies_to_happy_and_angry_faces_in_socially_anxious_individuals_ L2 - https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0005-7967(09)00269-1 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -