Threat is in the eye of the beholder: Social anxiety and the interpretation of ambiguous facial expressions

  • Lira Yoon K
  • Zinbarg R
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The current study investigated the tendency of individuals with high levels of social anxiety to interpret ambiguous facial expressions in a threatening manner. Results obtained from self-report measures were consistent with previous studies in which highly socially anxious individuals endorsed threatening interpretations for ambiguous social information. More importantly, highly socially anxious participants showed relative facilitation of processing of threatening faces following neutral faces when a priming technique was used to eliminate artifact due to response selection bias. These findings support the hypothesized social anxiety-linked interpretive bias. © 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Interpretive bias
  • Neutral face
  • Social anxiety

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  • K. Lira Yoon

  • Richard E. Zinbarg

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