Attentional biases in anxiety disorders have been assessed primarily using three types of experiment: the emotional Stroop task, the probe-detection task, and variations of the visual search task. It is proposed that the inattentional blindness procedure has the ability to overcome limitations of these paradigms in regard to identifying the components of attentional bias. Three experiments examined attentional responding to spider images in individuals with low and moderate to high spider fear. The results demonstrate that spider fear causes a bias in the engage component of visual attention and this is specific to stimuli presented in the left visual field (i.e., to the right hemisphere). The implications of the results are discussed and recommendations for future research are made.
- inattentional blindness