The rapid orienting of attention to potential threats would seem to proceed outside of top-down control. However, there is no convincing empirical finding that threatening stimuli only capture attention in a bottom-up way. The present study was designed to investigate the role of top-down and bottom-up processes in attentional bias to threats. We report a dot-probe experiment examining spatial cuing (valid and invalid)using threatening (spiders or snakes)or neutral (clownfish)stimuli in two conditions (predictable and unpredictable task). Forty-two students between the ages of 20 and 35 years participated in the study. They performed the probe detection task. Results suggested that threatening stimuli can capture attention, but this attentional effect cannot be regarded as totally bottom-up or automatic. We argue that attentional capture by threatening stimuli could be the result of a mechanism of attention shifting between bottom-up and top-down systems.

Automatic and controlled attentional capture by threatening stimuli

Fabio, R. A.
Primo
;
Caprì, T.
Ultimo
2019

Abstract

The rapid orienting of attention to potential threats would seem to proceed outside of top-down control. However, there is no convincing empirical finding that threatening stimuli only capture attention in a bottom-up way. The present study was designed to investigate the role of top-down and bottom-up processes in attentional bias to threats. We report a dot-probe experiment examining spatial cuing (valid and invalid)using threatening (spiders or snakes)or neutral (clownfish)stimuli in two conditions (predictable and unpredictable task). Forty-two students between the ages of 20 and 35 years participated in the study. They performed the probe detection task. Results suggested that threatening stimuli can capture attention, but this attentional effect cannot be regarded as totally bottom-up or automatic. We argue that attentional capture by threatening stimuli could be the result of a mechanism of attention shifting between bottom-up and top-down systems.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11570/3140971
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