Title: An anxiety-induced bias in the perception of a bistable point-light walker
Authors: Van de Cruys, Sander ×
Schouten, Ben
Wagemans, Johan #
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: North-Holland
Series Title: Acta Psychologica vol:144 issue:3 pages:548-553
Abstract: Human sensitivity for social cues is exquisite, as illustrated by the easewithwhich simplified point-lightmovements invoke social and emotional responses. Compared to faces, these biological motion stimuli only recently started to be used to explore questions regarding social cognition and anxiety.We presented human point-light walkers that could be perceived as facing towards or facing away from the observer, and tested whether participants with high social anxietywould perceive these bistable stimuli differently, because this type of stimuli has particular relevance for them. The results showed that observers with high social anxiety tended to see walkers as facing away more frequently than those with low social anxiety. This may mean that high socially anxious observers are biased towards the more positive perceptual alternative because they are motivated to protect themselves against threatening social experiences, but we also explore alternative explanations. The findings are in linewith the evidence for a positivity bias in perception, also called wishful seeing, but in contrast with the attentional negativity bias often found in social anxiety.We discuss reasons for this divergence and possible limitations of the current study.
ISSN: 0001-6918
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IT
Appears in Collections:Laboratory for Experimental Psychology
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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