Attention bias toward negative stimuli

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Negative stimuli often receive excessive attention and abnormal behavioral reaction from human beings. Although threat-related attention bias is a normal phenomenon, it becomes pathological when it is systematically exhibited toward certain stimuli and when it impairs everyday functioning. Attention bias is characterized by faster engagement to and slower disengagement from threatening stimuli, compared with neutral ones, and by a vigilance-avoidance pattern. Anxious individuals show consistent bias, while bias among depressed individuals is less consistent. The current chapter introduces attention bias across disorders; elaborates on different cognitive, neurocognitive, and psychophysiological measures; discusses the bias in theory and in practice; and offers directions for further considerations. Most importantly, the understanding of attention bias has great therapeutic value, as reduction of attention bias can lead to reduction of anxiety symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCognitive Biases in Health and Psychiatric Disorders
Subtitle of host publicationNeurophysiological Foundations
EditorsHadas Okon-SInger, Tatjana Aue
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9780128166604
ISBN (Print)9780128166611
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


  • Anxiety
  • Attention
  • Bias
  • Emotion
  • Negative
  • Orienting
  • Threat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine
  • General Neuroscience


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