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The effects of social anxiety on emotional face discrimination and its modulation by mouth salience

du Rocher, Andrew and Pickering, Alan. 2018. The effects of social anxiety on emotional face discrimination and its modulation by mouth salience. Cognition and Emotion, 33(4), pp. 832-839. ISSN 0269-9931 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

People high in social anxiety experience fear of social situations due to the likelihood of social evaluation. Whereas happy faces are generally processed very quickly, this effect is impaired by high social anxiety. Mouth regions are implicated during emotional face processing, therefore differences in mouth salience might affect how social anxiety relates to emotional face discrimination. We designed an emotional facial expression recognition task to reveal how varying levels of subclinical social anxiety (measured by questionnaire) related to the discrimination of happy and fearful faces, and of happy and angry faces. We also categorised the facial expressions by the salience of the mouth region (i.e. high [open mouth] vs. low [closed mouth]). In a sample of 90 participants higher social anxiety (relative to lower social anxiety) was associated with a reduced happy face reaction time advantage. However, this effect was mainly driven by the faces with less salient closed mouths. Our results are consistent with theories of anxiety that incorporate an oversensitive valence evaluation system.

Item Type:

Article

Identification Number (DOI):

https://doi.org/10.1080/02699931.2018.1478279

Additional Information:

Social anxiety, emotional faces, mouth salience

Dates:

DateEvent
21 May 2018Published
14 May 2018Accepted
29 August 2017Submitted

Item ID:

23360

Date Deposited:

24 May 2018 11:52

Last Modified:

21 Jun 2019 13:39

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.

URI:

http://research.gold.ac.uk/id/eprint/23360

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