Attention to faces and gaze-following in social anxiety: preliminary evidence from a naturalistic eye-tracking investigation

Cognition and Emotion 33 (5):931-942 (2019)

ABSTRACTSocial attentional biases are a core component of social anxiety disorder, but research has not yet determined their direction due to methodological limitations. Here we present preliminary findings from a novel, dynamic eye-tracking paradigm allowing spatial–temporal measurement of attention and gaze-following, a mechanism previously unexplored in social anxiety. 105 participants took part, with those high and low in social anxiety traits entered into the analyses. Participants watched a video of an emotionally-neutral social scene, where two actors periodically shifted their gaze towards the periphery. HSA participants looked more at the actors’ faces during the initial 2s than the LSA group but there were no group differences in proportion of first fixations to the face or latency to first fixate the face, although HSA individuals’ first fixations to the face were shorter. No further differences in eye movements were found, nor in gaze-following beha...
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DOI 10.1080/02699931.2018.1519497
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