• Anticipatory versus Reactive Spatial Attentional Bias to Threat

      Gladwin, Thomas; Möbius, Martin; McLoughlin, Shane; Tyndall, Ian; University of Chichester; Radboud University; University of Chester (Wiley, 2018-05-11)
      Dot-probe or visual probe tasks (VPTs) are used extensively to measure attentional biases. A novel variant termed the cued VPT (cVPT) was developed to focus on the anticipatory component of attentional bias. This study aimed to establish an anticipatory attentional bias to threat using the cVPT and compare its split-half reliability with a typical dot-probe task. A total of 120 students performed the cVPT task and dot-probe tasks. Essentially, the cVPT uses cues that predict the location of pictorial threatening stimuli, but on trials on which probe stimuli are presented the pictures do not appear. Hence, actual presentation of emotional stimuli did not affect responses. The reliability of the cVPT was higher at most cue–stimulus intervals and was .56 overall. A clear anticipatory attentional bias was found. In conclusion, the cVPT may be of methodological and theoretical interest. Using visually neutral predictive cues may remove sources of noise that negatively impact reliability. Predictive cues are able to bias response selection, suggesting a role of predicted outcomes in automatic processes.
    • Effects of intranasal oxytocin on the attentional bias to emotional stimuli in patients with bulimia nervosa

      Kim, Youl-Ri; Eom, Jin-Sup; Leppanen, Jenni; Leslie, Monica; Treasure, Janet; Inje University; Chungbuk National University; King's College London
      Background: Bulimia nervosa (BN) is characterized by binge eating and emotional dysregulation including increased negative affectivity (anger, anxiety). The aim of this study was to examine the effect of oxytocin on attentional processes towards anger in patients with BN. Method: The study design consisted of a double-blind, placebo-controlled within-subject crossover, single dose experiment. Sixty-four women (31 patients with BN and 33 healthy comparisons) completed self-reported measures to evaluate emotional difficulties and were administered a single dose of intranasal oxytocin (40IU) or placebo followed by a visual probe detection task to examine attentional orienting to angry or happy faces. Results: Patients with BN reported higher emotional dysregulation and more difficulties in controlling anger compared to the healthy comparison group. Patients with BN and the healthy women exhibited similar attentional bias to angry faces in the placebo condition. Intranasal oxytocin reduced the attentional bias towards angry faces in both the BN patients and the healthy women. Conclusions: We found that a single dose of oxytocin reduced vigilance towards angry faces in patients with BN as well as healthy women. The results showed that patients with BN are not different from healthy women in terms of vigilance towards threat.