The role of attention bias to threat in anxiety: mechanisms, modulators and open questions

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Individuals at risk of developing anxiety and those with (sub-) clinical anxiety have robust attention biases to irrelevant threats, among them facilitated engagement, difficulty in disengaging and later avoidance of threat. These attention biases are thought to be associated with abnormal activation and connectivity in prefrontal-limbic-sensory neural circuits. Attention biases were shown to be related to other processing biases, but more empirical data are needed to better understand the causal role of each processing bias and to develop effective treatments. These attention biases have further been suggested as playing a causal role in anxiety, although mixed findings from attention bias modification studies challenge this contention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-30
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent Opinion in Behavioral Sciences
StatePublished - Feb 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work is supported by the Marie Curie Actions (Career Integration Grant # 334206 ) and the National Institute for Psychobiology in Israel Young Investigator Research Grant 145-14-15 awarded to Hadas Okon-Singer.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier Ltd

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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