Does neurocognitive function affect cognitive bias toward an emotional stimulus? Association between general attentional ability and attentional bias toward threat

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Abstract

Background: Although poorer cognitive performance has been found to be associated with anxiety, it remains unclear whether neurocognitive function affects biased cognitive processing toward emotional information. We investigated whether general cognitive function evaluated with a standard neuropsychological test predicts biased cognition, focusing on attentional bias toward threat.Methods: One hundred and five healthy young adults completed a dot-probe task measuring attentional bias and the Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status (RBANS) measuring general cognitive function, which consists of five domains: immediate memory, visuospatial/constructional, language, attention, and delayed memory. Stepwise multiple regression analysis was performed to examine the relationship between attentional bias and cognitive function.Results: The attentional domain was the best predictor of attentional bias toward threat (Β =3D -0.26, p =3D 0.006). Within the attentional domain, digit symbol coding was negatively correlated with attentional bias (r =3D -0.28, p =3D 0.005).Conclusions: The present study provides the first evidence that general attentional ability, which was assessed with a standard neuropsychological test, affects attentional bias toward threatening information. Individual cognitive profiles might be important for the measurement and modification of cognitive biases. © 2014 Hakamata, Matsui and Tagaya.

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Hakamata, Y., Matsui, M., & Tagaya, H. (2014). Does neurocognitive function affect cognitive bias toward an emotional stimulus? Association between general attentional ability and attentional bias toward threat. Frontiers in Psychology, 5(AUG). https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00881

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