Attentional biases to internal and external sources of potential threat in social anxiety

Suzanne L. Pineles*, Susan Mineka

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

105 Scopus citations


D. M. Clark and A. Wells (1995) proposed that a shift of attention inward toward interoceptive information is a central feature of social phobia. However, few studies have examined attentional biases toward internal physiological cues in social phobia. The current experiment assessed whether socially anxious individuals exhibit an attentional bias (a) toward cues for an internal source of potential threat (heart-rate information), (b) toward cues for an external source of potential threat (threatening faces) or (c) both. Ninety-one participants who were selected to form extreme groups based on a social anxiety screening measure performed a dot-probe task to assess location of attention. Results showed that socially anxious participants exhibited an attentional bias toward cues of internal, but not external, sources of potential threat.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)314-318
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Abnormal Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2005


  • Attentional bias
  • Social anxiety
  • Social phobia
  • Threat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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