ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

Acta Psychologica Sinica ›› 2022, Vol. 54 ›› Issue (1): 1-11.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2022.00001

• Reports of Empirical Studies •     Next Articles

Emotional bias of trait anxiety on pre-attentive processing of facial expressions: ERP investigation

LI Wanyue1,2, LIU Shen3, HAN Shangfeng4, ZHANG Lin1, XU Qiang1()   

  1. 1Department and Institute of Psychology, Ningbo University, Ningbo 315211, China
    2School of Psychology, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631, China
    3School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei 230022, China
    4School of Psychology, Center for Brain Disorders and Cognitive Neuroscience, Shenzhen University, Shenzhen 518060, China
  • Received:2020-11-04 Published:2022-01-25 Online:2021-11-26
  • Contact: XU Qiang
  • Supported by:
    Humanities and Social Sciences Research Project / Youth Fund Project of the Ministry of Education(18YJC190027);National Natural Science Foundation of China(31540024);fifth round of Ningbo philosophy and Social Sciences discipline leader cultivation project


In order to explore the processing mode of emotional stimuli in the pre-attentive stage of people with high trait anxiety and clarify their emotional bias characteristics, this study used the deviant-standard-reverse oddball paradigm to explore the influence of trait anxiety on the pre-attentive processing of facial expressions. The results showed that for the low trait anxiety group, the early EMMN induced by sad faces was significantly larger than that induced by happy faces, while for the high trait anxiety group, the early EMMN induced by happy and sad faces was not significantly different from each other. Moreover, the EMMN amplitude of happy faces in high trait anxiety group was significantly larger than that in low trait anxiety group. The results show that personality traits are an important factor affecting the pre-attentive processing of facial expressions. Different from ordinary participants, people with high trait anxiety have similar processing patterns for happy and sad faces in the pre-attentive stage, which may make it difficult for them to effectively distinguish happy and sad faces.

Key words: trait anxiety, pre-attentive processing, facial expressions, EMMN