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Brain dynamics of visual attention during anticipation and encoding of threat- and safe-cues in spider-phobic individuals.
Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. 2015 Sep; 10(9):1177-86.SC

Abstract

This study systematically investigated the sensitivity of the phobic attention system by measuring event-related potentials (ERPs) in spider-phobic and non-phobic volunteers in a context where spider and neutral pictures were presented (phobic threat condition) and in contexts where no phobic but unpleasant and neutral or only neutral pictures were displayed (phobia-irrelevant conditions). In a between-group study, participants were assigned to phobia-irrelevant conditions either before or after the exposure to spider pictures (pre-exposure vs post-exposure participants). Additionally, each picture was preceded by a fixation cross presented in one of three different colors that were informative about the category of an upcoming picture. In the phobic threat condition, spider-phobic participants showed a larger P1 than controls for all pictures and signal cues. Moreover, individuals with spider phobia who were sensitized by the exposure to phobic stimuli (i.e. post-exposure participants) responded with an increased P1 also in phobia-irrelevant conditions. In contrast, no group differences between spider-phobic and non-phobic individuals were observed in the P1-amplitudes during viewing of phobia-irrelevant stimuli in the pre-exposure group. In addition, cues signaling neutral pictures elicited decreased stimulus-preceding negativity (SPN) compared with cues signaling emotional pictures. Moreover, emotional pictures and cues signaling emotional pictures evoked larger early posterior negativity (EPN) and late positive potential (LPP) than neutral stimuli. Spider phobics showed greater selective attention effects than controls for phobia-relevant pictures (increased EPN and LPP) and cues (increased LPP and SPN). Increased sensitization of the attention system observed in spider-phobic individuals might facilitate fear conditioning and promote generalization of fear playing an important role in the maintenance of anxiety disorders.

Authors+Show Affiliations

University of Warsaw, Department of Differential Psychology, 00183 Warsaw, Poland and jmichalowski@psych.uw.edu.pl.University of Greifswald, Department of Biological and Clinical Psychology, 17487 Greifswald, Germany.University of Greifswald, Department of Biological and Clinical Psychology, 17487 Greifswald, Germany.University of Greifswald, Department of Biological and Clinical Psychology, 17487 Greifswald, Germany.

Pub Type(s)

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

Language

eng

PubMed ID

25608985

Citation

Michalowski, Jaroslaw M., et al. "Brain Dynamics of Visual Attention During Anticipation and Encoding of Threat- and Safe-cues in Spider-phobic Individuals." Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, vol. 10, no. 9, 2015, pp. 1177-86.
Michalowski JM, Pané-Farré CA, Löw A, et al. Brain dynamics of visual attention during anticipation and encoding of threat- and safe-cues in spider-phobic individuals. Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. 2015;10(9):1177-86.
Michalowski, J. M., Pané-Farré, C. A., Löw, A., & Hamm, A. O. (2015). Brain dynamics of visual attention during anticipation and encoding of threat- and safe-cues in spider-phobic individuals. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 10(9), 1177-86. https://doi.org/10.1093/scan/nsv002
Michalowski JM, et al. Brain Dynamics of Visual Attention During Anticipation and Encoding of Threat- and Safe-cues in Spider-phobic Individuals. Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. 2015;10(9):1177-86. PubMed PMID: 25608985.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Brain dynamics of visual attention during anticipation and encoding of threat- and safe-cues in spider-phobic individuals. AU - Michalowski,Jaroslaw M, AU - Pané-Farré,Christiane A, AU - Löw,Andreas, AU - Hamm,Alfons O, Y1 - 2015/01/20/ PY - 2013/12/05/received PY - 2015/01/13/accepted PY - 2015/1/23/entrez PY - 2015/1/23/pubmed PY - 2016/5/25/medline KW - attention KW - emotion KW - event-related potentials (ERPs) KW - fear KW - phobia SP - 1177 EP - 86 JF - Social cognitive and affective neuroscience JO - Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci VL - 10 IS - 9 N2 - This study systematically investigated the sensitivity of the phobic attention system by measuring event-related potentials (ERPs) in spider-phobic and non-phobic volunteers in a context where spider and neutral pictures were presented (phobic threat condition) and in contexts where no phobic but unpleasant and neutral or only neutral pictures were displayed (phobia-irrelevant conditions). In a between-group study, participants were assigned to phobia-irrelevant conditions either before or after the exposure to spider pictures (pre-exposure vs post-exposure participants). Additionally, each picture was preceded by a fixation cross presented in one of three different colors that were informative about the category of an upcoming picture. In the phobic threat condition, spider-phobic participants showed a larger P1 than controls for all pictures and signal cues. Moreover, individuals with spider phobia who were sensitized by the exposure to phobic stimuli (i.e. post-exposure participants) responded with an increased P1 also in phobia-irrelevant conditions. In contrast, no group differences between spider-phobic and non-phobic individuals were observed in the P1-amplitudes during viewing of phobia-irrelevant stimuli in the pre-exposure group. In addition, cues signaling neutral pictures elicited decreased stimulus-preceding negativity (SPN) compared with cues signaling emotional pictures. Moreover, emotional pictures and cues signaling emotional pictures evoked larger early posterior negativity (EPN) and late positive potential (LPP) than neutral stimuli. Spider phobics showed greater selective attention effects than controls for phobia-relevant pictures (increased EPN and LPP) and cues (increased LPP and SPN). Increased sensitization of the attention system observed in spider-phobic individuals might facilitate fear conditioning and promote generalization of fear playing an important role in the maintenance of anxiety disorders. SN - 1749-5024 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/25608985/Brain_dynamics_of_visual_attention_during_anticipation_and_encoding_of_threat__and_safe_cues_in_spider_phobic_individuals_ L2 - https://academic.oup.com/scan/article-lookup/doi/10.1093/scan/nsv002 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -