Previous dot-probe studies indicate that threat-related face cues induce a bias in spatial attention. Independently of spatial attention, a recent psychophysical study suggests that a bilateral fearful face cue improves low spatial-frequency perception (LSF) and impairs high spatial-frequency perception (HSF). Here, we combine these separate lines of research within a single dot-probe paradigm. We found that a bilateral fearful face cue, compared with a bilateral neutral face cue, speeded up responses to LSF targets and slowed down responses to HSF targets. This finding is important, as it shows that emotional cues in dot-probe tasks not only bias where information is preferentially processed (i.e., an attentional bias in spatial location), but also bias what type of information is preferentially processed (i.e., a perceptual bias in spatial frequency).

Adult, article, association, attention, cognition, dot probe task, emotion, face, facial expression, fear, female, human, human experiment, information processing, male, perception,
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Bocanegra, B.R, Huijding, J, & Zeelenberg, R. (2012). Beyond attentional bias: A perceptual bias in a dot-probe task. Emotion, 12(6), 1362–1366. doi:10.1037/a0028415