Social Anxiety Modulates Subliminal Affective Priming

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Background: It is well established that there is anxiety-related variation between observers in the very earliest, pre-attentive stage of visual processing of images such as emotionally expressive faces, often leading to enhanced attention to threat in a variety of disorders and traits. Whether there is also variation in early-stage affective (i.e. valenced) responses resulting from such images, however, is not yet known. The present study used the subliminal affective priming paradigm to investigate whether people varying in trait social anxiety also differ in their affective responses to very briefly presented, emotionally expressive face images. Methodology/Principal Findings: Participants (n=67) completed a subliminal affective priming task, in which briefly presented and smiling, neutral and angry faces were shown for 10 ms durations (below objective and subjective thresholds for visual discrimination), and immediately followed by a randomly selected Chinese character mask (2000 ms). Ratings of participants’ liking for each Chinese character indicated the degree of valenced affective response made to the unseen emotive images. Participants’ ratings of their liking for the Chinese characters were significantly influenced by the type of face image preceding them, with smiling faces generating more positive ratings than neutral and angry ones (F(2,128)=3.107, p
Translated title of the contributionSocial Anxiety Modulates Subliminal Affective Priming
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere37011
Pages (from-to)1 - 7
Number of pages7
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2012

Structured keywords

  • Brain and Behaviour


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