Title

Attributing Negative Affect to Neutral Faces in Socially Anxious College Students

Poster Number

11

Format

Poster Presentation

Abstract/Artist Statement

This study examined whether participants with none, mild/moderate, or severe social anxiety attribute negative affect to neutral facial expressions. The literature examined two reoccurring theories on why individuals with social anxiety disorder attribute negative affect to neutral faces, one being the “cognitive model of anxiety,” which involves “increased sensitivity to threat or avoidance and impaired processing of threat” (Garner et al., 2009). The other theory being, individuals with social anxiety disorder suffer a dysfunction of the “primary fear network” (part of the amygdala). When viewing fearful faces, the amygdala manipulates brain serotonin, which causes an inaccurate perception of fearful faces (Harmer et. al., 2003; Venn et al., 2006). The current research expanded on Csukly et al. (2008) study. In this study, participants with different disorders, such as somatization symptoms, depression symptoms, anxiety symptoms, and phobic anxiety symptoms were tested to ascertain whether they attributed negative affect to neutral faces. Csukly et al. (2008) results suggested that participants with anxiety symptoms were the second most likely to attribute negative affect to neutral faces. Expanding on previous research, the current study examined participants in groups and provided participants with an anxiety-eliciting scenario before having them rate the pictures. The results were not statistically significant.

Location

DeRosa University Center, Ballroom B

Start Date

1-5-2010 10:00 AM

End Date

1-5-2010 12:00 PM

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May 1st, 10:00 AM May 1st, 12:00 PM

Attributing Negative Affect to Neutral Faces in Socially Anxious College Students

DeRosa University Center, Ballroom B

This study examined whether participants with none, mild/moderate, or severe social anxiety attribute negative affect to neutral facial expressions. The literature examined two reoccurring theories on why individuals with social anxiety disorder attribute negative affect to neutral faces, one being the “cognitive model of anxiety,” which involves “increased sensitivity to threat or avoidance and impaired processing of threat” (Garner et al., 2009). The other theory being, individuals with social anxiety disorder suffer a dysfunction of the “primary fear network” (part of the amygdala). When viewing fearful faces, the amygdala manipulates brain serotonin, which causes an inaccurate perception of fearful faces (Harmer et. al., 2003; Venn et al., 2006). The current research expanded on Csukly et al. (2008) study. In this study, participants with different disorders, such as somatization symptoms, depression symptoms, anxiety symptoms, and phobic anxiety symptoms were tested to ascertain whether they attributed negative affect to neutral faces. Csukly et al. (2008) results suggested that participants with anxiety symptoms were the second most likely to attribute negative affect to neutral faces. Expanding on previous research, the current study examined participants in groups and provided participants with an anxiety-eliciting scenario before having them rate the pictures. The results were not statistically significant.