Angry faces hold the eyes

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Efficient processing of complex social and biological stimuli associated with threat is crucial for survival. Previous studies have suggested that threatening stimuli such as angry faces not only capture visual attention, but also delay the disengagement of attention from their location. However, in the previous studies disengagement of attention was measured indirectly and was inferred on the basis of delayed manual responses. The present study employed a novel paradigm that allows direct examination of the delayed disengagement hypothesis by measuring the time it takes to disengage the eyes from threatening stimuli. The results showed that participants were indeed slower to make an eye movement away from an angry face presented at fixation than from either a neutral or a happy face. This finding provides converging support that the delay in disengagement of attention is an important component of processing threatening information. © 2011 Psychology Press.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-36
JournalVisual Cognition
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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