ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

Acta Psychologica Sinica ›› 2013, Vol. 45 ›› Issue (4): 446-452.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2013.00446

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Inhibition of Return in Trait Anxieties Under Different Cues

ZHANG Yu;ZHENG Xifu;HUANG Shanshan;LI Yue;DU Xiaofen;ZHOU Wei   

  1. (1 Psychology Research Center, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631, China) (2 Mental and Physical Counseling Center, Guangdong Country Garden School, Foshan 528000, China)
  • Received:2012-03-05 Published:2013-04-25 Online:2013-04-25
  • Contact: ZHENG Xifu

Abstract: Inhibition of return (IOR), as an important part of attention bias, was generally considered as an adaptive mechanism during human evolution. Previous studies on the peculiarities of anxiety individual’s attention mainly focused on the attention orientation and inhibition ability; the effects of the natures of the stimuli on post-orientation inhibition, and the relation between the anxiety individual’s features and attentional bias, are still unclear. In the present study, we will focus on the attention bias of the anxiety group, and try to figure out the possible reasons underlying IOR features by using the cue-target paradigm with different cues. Traits Anxiety Inventory was used to test the undergraduates before the experiment, and finally twenty-nine undergraduates with high trait anxiety and twenty-eight with low trait anxiety were chosen as participants. In two experiments, participants were instructed to perform a cue-target task as accurately and quickly as possible, which included two kinds of uninformative cues: neutral cognitive cues and emotional face cues. Experiment 1 suggested that participants of high anxiety reacted more slowly than that of low anxiety under the condition of neutral cognitive cues. Although IOR did not appear in this experiment. Experiment 2 indicated that IOR effect occurred under all SOA levels for both groups, and IOR magnitudes of the two groups were modulated by emotional cues. The two groups showed no significant difference on IOR effect under the condition of positive cues, while IOR effect of the high anxiety group turned out to be much smaller than that of the low anxiety group under the condition of negative cues. These experiments suggested that only under negative emotional circumstances, groups of different trait anxiety showed different IOR abilities, and particularly, high anxiety group’s IOR ability was impaired, which provided specific information on possible improvement of the anxiety symptoms.

Key words: trait anxiety, inhibition of return, emotional cues, cue-target task