Poster F10, Tuesday, March 28, 8:00 – 10:00 am, Pacific Concourse
The Modulation of Attentional Emotion Processing on the P300 Event-Related Potential in High-Anxiety and Low-Anxiety Individuals
Jeremy Andrzejewski1, Trenton Tulloss1, Robert Torrence1, Lucy Troup1; 1Colorado State University
Varying levels of anxiety and associated anxiety disorders have been shown to modulate attention to emotion, in particular for negative emotional stimuli in the P300. This event-related potential component has been shown to be involved with allocating attentional resources to the emotional aspect of a stimulus. However, less research exists for more multi-level attentional paradigms, especially ones that investigate empathy. The purpose of this research was to investigate how emotionally-laden facial stimuli modulate the P300 in low and high anxiety groups. Out of 119 participants that completed the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, two groups were formed. The top 20 percent were in the high anxiety group (n = 39) and the bottom 20 percent were in the low anxiety group (n = 25). The participants completed an emotion-attention task, which utilized three attentional levels: implicit, explicit, and empathic; the task also featured four facial expression emotions: neutral, happy, angry, and fearful. Six regions of interest, consistent with previous P300 emotion attention research, were used in the analysis. A significant main effect was shown in amplitude differences with the anxiety groups. Within-group comparisons suggested that a reduction in P300 amplitude was shown in the low anxiety group compared with the high anxiety group for negative emotions (angry and fearful) in the implicit and empathetic tasks. These results were consistent with past research indicating that anxiety is related to an increased allocation of attentional resources when presented with negative emotional stimuli and resulting empathic processing.
Topic Area: EMOTION & SOCIAL: Emotional responding