Threat-related attentional bias in anxious and nonanxious individuals: A meta-analytic study

Yair Bar-Haim*, Dominique Lamy, Lee Pergamin, Marian J. Bakermans-Kranenburg, Marinus H. Van Ijzendoorn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

This meta-analysis of 172 studies (N = 2,263 anxious, N = 1,768 nonanxious) examined the boundary conditions of threat-related attentional biases in anxiety. Overall, the results show that the bias is reliably demonstrated with different experimental paradigms and under a variety of experimental conditions, but that it is only an effect size of d = 0.45. Although processes requiring conscious perception of threat contribute to the bias, a significant bias is also observed with stimuli outside awareness. The bias is of comparable magnitude across different types of anxious populations (individuals with different clinical disorders, high-anxious nonclinical individuals, anxious children and adults) and is not observed in nonanxious individuals. Empirical and clinical implications as well as future directions for research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
JournalPsychological Bulletin
Volume133
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Anxiety
  • Attentional bias
  • Selective attention
  • Threat

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