Instructed threat enhances threat perception in faces.

Kavcioglu FC, Bublatzky F, Pittig A, Alpers GW (2021)

Publication Type: Journal article

Publication year: 2021


Book Volume: 21

Pages Range: 419-429

Journal Issue: 2

DOI: 10.1037/emo0000708


Anxiety can boost the detection of potential threats in many ways. There is evidence that one and the same facial expression can be perceived differently depending on whether it is seen in a neutral or in a threatening situation. The present study investigated how aversive anticipation influences the accuracy of facial emotion recognition and the perceived emotional intensity of faces that had their objective emotional intensity manipulated. Forty-three participants categorized and rated the intensity of morphed faces (20%, 40%, 60%, and 80%) of fearful, angry, and happy expressions. Differently colored picture frames indicated either threat of electric shock or safety. Threat of shock enhanced the categorization accuracy specifically for fearful faces. During threat, 80% fearful and happy faces, and all levels of angry faces (20%–80%) were rated as more intense. In addition, we found that more trait-anxious individuals more frequently erroneously categorized neutral faces as fearful. Thus, state anxiety enhanced accurate fear categorization and boosted the perceived intensity of emotional faces, whereas trait anxiety led to a biased threat perception in nonthreatening faces. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved)

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Kavcioglu, F.C., Bublatzky, F., Pittig, A., & Alpers, G.W. (2021). Instructed threat enhances threat perception in faces. Emotion, 21(2), 419-429.


Kavcioglu, Fatih C., et al. "Instructed threat enhances threat perception in faces." Emotion 21.2 (2021): 419-429.

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