- Restrictions on Access:
- Restricted (Penn State Only).
- This dissertation investigated temperamental and cognitive influences on social anxiety symptoms, from both developmental and neural perspectives. Children between the ages of 9 to 12 years old performed the affective Posner task (i.e., using emotional faces), which assessed cognitive bias at different stages of attention processing, while electrophysiological (EEG) data were collected. Parental reports were obtained to measure temperament (behavioral inhibition, BI) and social anxiety symptoms.Children with BI exhibited greater social anxiety symptoms when they had heightened initial orientation to face stimuli (augmented P1 amplitude) and weaker attentional control to disengage from angry incongruent trials (attenuated P3 amplitude). This suggests that the link between BI and social anxiety is potentiated for children who rely more on automatic bottom-up, salience processing and less on top-down, cognitive control processing of attention. For all children, regardless of temperament, attenuated initial orienting to neutral faces (low P1 amplitude) coupled with greater attention bias for neutral incongruent trials predicted more social anxiety symptoms. This suggests that neutral stimuli may elicit anxiety for children who exhibit weaker attentional control during the disengagement process, perhaps owing to the ambiguous nature of neutral stimuli. Ambiguity may require additional processing and therefore distracts participants from task performance.Overall, our findings suggest that attention bias patterns occur during both early and later stages of information processing. These findings have the potential to help develop appropriate, more targeted treatments for anxiety disorders in children.
- Dissertation Note:
- Ph.D. Pennsylvania State University 2019.
- Technical Details:
- The full text of the dissertation is available as an Adobe Acrobat .pdf file ; Adobe Acrobat Reader required to view the file.
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