Skip to content
Journal article

Social anxiety and threat-related interpretation of dynamic facial expressions: Sensitivity and response bias

Gutiérrez-García A, Calvo M ...see all

Personality and Individual Differences, vol. 107 (2017) pp. 10-16 Published by Elsevier Ltd

  • 18

    Readers

    Mendeley users who have this article in their library.
  • 1

    Citations

    Citations of this article.
  • 927

    Views

    ScienceDirect users who have downloaded this article.
Sign in to save reference

Abstract

Facial expressions can convey disapproval or rejection, which is highly relevant information for socially anxious observers. We investigated how social anxiety biases the interpretation of ambiguous expressions towards threat. Undergraduates with clinical levels of social anxiety and non-anxious controls were presented with 1-s video-clips displaying facial happiness, anger, fear, sadness, disgust, and surprise, at various levels of emotional intensity, or neutral expressions. Participants categorized the expressions. Social anxiety was associated with enhanced detection of anger and disgust at low intensity levels, relative to non-anxious controls. Also, social anxiety was related to a higher probability of interpreting emotionally “neutral” faces as angry. A′ sensitivity was affected, with no effects on B″ response criterion. Socially anxious individuals are likely to perceive hostility, disapproval, or dislike in ambiguous facial expressions (with low intensity signals of anger/disgust, or “neutrality”). The effect involves an interpretative bias that occurs during expression encoding and is not contaminated by response biases.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Facial expression
  • Intensity
  • Interpretative bias
  • Sensitivity
  • Social anxiety
  • Threat

Get free article suggestions today

Mendeley saves you time finding and organizing research

Sign up here
Already have an account ?Sign in

Find this document

Get full text

Authors

Cite this document

Choose a citation style from the tabs below