Temporal Dynamics of Attentional Bias

Ariel Zvielli, Amit Bernstein, Ernst H.W. Koster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Biases of emotional attention are believed to be central to human (mal)adaptation and multiple forms of psychopathology. Yet fundamental questions remain regarding the nature and empirical study of attentional bias (AB). We thus aimed to (a) test a novel conceptualization and related operationalization of AB expression in time and (b) illuminate the nature of AB and specifically its temporal expression. We examined AB expression in time by means of a novel trial-level bias score (TL-BS) analysis of dot probe task data in two experiments—among spider phobics and healthy controls, and among smoking-deprived daily smokers. Findings revealed evidence of the dynamic expression of AB in time; furthermore, TL-BS parameters demonstrated unique associations with psychopathology and addiction beyond traditional bias score. The present research may help to bring the conceptualization and quantification of AB closer to the nature of the phenomenon and thereby advance basic and clinical knowledge.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)772-788
Number of pages17
JournalClinical Psychological Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014, © The Author(s) 2014.


  • addiction
  • anxiety
  • attention paradigms
  • attentional bias
  • dot probe
  • emotional attention
  • information processing
  • motivation
  • phobia
  • reward
  • smoking
  • substance use
  • threat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology


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