Neurophysiological underpinnings of attention biases: An Erp Study

Open Access
Thai, Nhi Kieu
Graduate Program:
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
Committee Members:
  • Koraly Elisa Perez Edgar, Thesis Advisor
  • attention bias
  • ERP
  • anxiety
  • child
  • ABM
The attention system of individuals with anxiety disorders may be biased toward threat-related stimuli. Indeed, this threat bias may play a causal role in the emergence of anxiety. Evidence for this assertion is drawn from a computerized training paradigm known as Attention Bias Modification (ABM) where attention is manipulated to bias away from threat. While anxiety is a developmental disorder with the majority of diagnoses first emerging in childhood, few studies have examined the role attention bias and ABM may play in children. Less is known concerning the neural correlates of attention bias and ABM, which have only been investigated in the adult literature. The goal of the current study is to further our understanding of the neural processes underlying attention bias and attention training from a developmental perspective, with a specific focus on children at temperamental risk for anxiety due to high levels of behavioral inhibition. ABM was shown to decrease N1 and N2 components. Levels of inhibition were shown to moderate the relation between P2 and social phobia as well as N2 and social phobia. That is, low behavioral inhibition interacts with low P2 and high N2 to predict high social phobia. No behavioral differences in threat bias were observed before and after ABM or Placebo training. These results suggest that ERPs may be more sensitive at capturing changes in attention patterns.