ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2014, Vol. 22 ›› Issue (10): 1608-1615.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2014.01608

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The Concept and Measurements of Threat Sensitivity: Physiological and Cognitive Approaches

LI Xiaoxin1,2; GUO Yongyu1; MI Jing1; HU Xiaoyong1   

  1. (1 School of Psychology, Central China Normal University, Wuhan 430079, China) (2 Psychological Counseling Center, Fujian University of Technology, Fuzhou 350118, China)
  • Received:2013-12-21 Online:2014-10-15 Published:2014-10-15
  • Contact: GUO Yongyu, E-mail:


Threat sensitivity is a survival skill developed from the human adaptation process. There are two approaches in threat sensitivity literatures. Physiological approach holds a reinforcement sensitivity perspective that defines threat sensitivity as the sensitivity of behavioral inhibition system, which is measured by the physical, emotional and behavioral responses to threats. Cognitive approach, based on cognitive style theory, defines threat vigilance as the sensitivity bias to threat in the information process. Threat sensitivity is measured by the expectation and detection level before and after the presence of threat. Future research should be engaged in integrating the definition further, verifying the relationship among the measurement indexes, extending research methods to test different kinds of threat sensitivity.

Key words: threat sensitivity, physiological approach, cognitive approach, measurement index