ANXIETY AND AFFECTIVE CONTEXT MODULATE AWARENESS 

  • Lital Ruderman
  • Dominique Lamy

Abstract

Threat awareness is central to anxiety phenomenology. Previous studies have investigated anxious observers' ability to discriminate between different emotions using liminal or subliminal stimuli. Here, we asked whether a stimulus is more likely to access conscious perception in anxious individuals when it is threatening relative to when it is not. Crucially,

the stimuli emotional contents were task-irrelevant.

Anxious individuals required shorter

exposure times to become aware of masked stimuli, irrespective of stimulus valence. However, whereas threat-related stimuli required lower exposure times in high- than in low anxiety individuals irrespective of stimulus context, positive stimuli required lower exposures only when presented among threatening stimuli. Our findings suggest a prominent role for

affective context in anxious individuals' conscious perception of visual stimuli.

Author Biography

Lital Ruderman
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