The time course of resource allocation in spider-fearful participants during fear reactions

Cognition and Emotion 22 (7):1381-1400 (2008)
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Abstract

The dynamics of resource allocation to pictures of spiders and other animals in spider-fearful participants was investigated. The task of the participants was to respond rapidly and accurately to various probe stimuli superimposed on pictures of different animals. These were arguably fear relevant (spiders, snakes, and wolves) and fear irrelevant (beetles, turtles, and rabbits). The probes were shown with different stimulus onset asynchronies (SOAs) from picture onset to address the dynamics of resource allocation. A larger allocation of resources to spider pictures than to pictures of all other animals, with no difference between the latter regarding resource allocation was found. For the task that demanded more resources the fear-related physiological responses decreased, suggesting that controlled processing modulates fear responses.

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