Threat is in the eye of the beholder: Social anxiety and the interpretation of ambiguous facial expressions

K. Lira Yoon*, Richard E. Zinbarg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

89 Scopus citations

Abstract

The current study investigated the tendency of individuals with high levels of social anxiety to interpret ambiguous facial expressions in a threatening manner. Results obtained from self-report measures were consistent with previous studies in which highly socially anxious individuals endorsed threatening interpretations for ambiguous social information. More importantly, highly socially anxious participants showed relative facilitation of processing of threatening faces following neutral faces when a priming technique was used to eliminate artifact due to response selection bias. These findings support the hypothesized social anxiety-linked interpretive bias.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)839-847
Number of pages9
JournalBehaviour Research and Therapy
Volume45
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2007

Keywords

  • Interpretive bias
  • Neutral face
  • Social anxiety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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