Attention to Peer Feedback Through the Eyes of Adolescents with a History of Anxiety and Healthy Adolescents
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During adolescence, youth may experience heightened attention bias to socially relevant stimuli; however, it is unclear if attention bias toward social threat may be exacerbated for adolescents with a history of anxiety. This study evaluated attentional bias during the Chatroom-Interact task with 25 adolescents with a history of anxiety (18F, Mage = 13.6) and 22 healthy adolescents (13F, Mage = 13.8). In this task, participants received feedback from fictional, virtual peers who either chose them (acceptance) or rejected them (rejection). Overall, participants were faster to orient toward and spent longer time dwelling on their own picture after both rejection and acceptance compared to non-feedback cues. Social feedback was associated with greater pupillary reactivity, an index of cognitive and emotional neural processing, compared to non-feedback cues. During acceptance feedback (but not during rejection feedback), anxious youth displayed greater pupil response compared to healthy youth, suggesting that positive feedback from peers may differentially influence youth with a history of an anxiety disorder.
KeywordsAttention bias Social feedback Pupillometry Adolescent anxiety
This project was supported by National Institute of Mental Health Grants MH091327 & MH080215.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare they have no competing or potential conflicts of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants’ parents and informed assent was obtained from all individual youth participants included in the study.
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