C. Novara, S. Pardini, Claudio Mulatti
Sep 1, 2019
Journal of behavior therapy and experimental psychiatry
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES It is well known that socially anxious individuals show biased processing towards threatening faces and better performance with low spatial frequencies information (LSF). It is unclear whether this bias is confined to facial processing or can be extended to other types of information. METHODS Two experimental phases involving discrimination tasks considering neutral and angry facial expressions and everyday objects in two different spatial frequency conditions were conducted to compare the performance of "socially and non-socially anxious individuals". RESULTS Findings showed that highly socially anxious individuals (HSAi) were faster in decision processing for LSF neutral faces than LSF angry faces and responded more slowly to LSF angry faces than unfiltered angry faces. Moreover, they responded more quickly to LSF object images than low socially anxious individuals (LSAi). LIMITATIONS The fact that the participants were not diagnosed with social anxiety disorder limits the relevance of clinical findings. The study is further limited because it compared and contrasted only two emotional expressions and two frequency bands. CONCLUSIONS Study results showed that HSAi better process LSF neutral information and that this advantage is not limited to neutral faces alone, but extends across other domains.