The missing pieces of the puzzle: A review on the interactive nature of a-priori expectancies and attention bias toward threat

Elinor Abado, Tatjana Aue, Hadas Okon-Singer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The role of attention bias in the etiology and maintenance of anxiety disorders has been studied extensively over decades. Attention bias reflects maladaptation in cognitive processing, as perceived threatening stimuli receive prioritized processing even when they are task-irrelevant or factually unthreatening. Recently, there has been some interest in the role of a-priori expectancies in attention bias toward threat. The current review article will present recent studies as examples that emphasize the need for more comprehensive research about the interactive effects of various factors that affect the relationship between expectancies and attention bias toward threatening stimuli in anxiety. The current review article suggests a holistic view, which advocates for more integrative research, as a dynamic network could underlie changes in attention bias. The study of the interaction between such factors, with a focus on expectancy, can lead to more ecological and clinically important results, and thus to more informed and fine-tuned treatments that are based on manipulation of expectancies. Such methods, in turn, can also help in shedding light on the research of attention bias, in a mutual relationship between research and therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number745
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalBrain Sciences
Issue number10
StatePublished - 17 Oct 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This work was supported by the Israel Science Foundation (grant #823/18) awarded to HOS. The funding source had no involvement in the study design, collection, analysis or interpretation of the data, writing the manuscript, or the decision to submit the paper for publication.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Anxiety disorders
  • Attention bias
  • Emotion
  • Expectancy attention bias modification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (all)


Dive into the research topics of 'The missing pieces of the puzzle: A review on the interactive nature of a-priori expectancies and attention bias toward threat'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this