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Unconscious anxiety: Phobic responses to masked stimuli
Uppsala University/Karolinska Institutet.
Uppsala University/Karolinska Institutet.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5221-9504
1994 (English)In: Journal of Abnormal Psychology, ISSN 0021-843X, E-ISSN 1939-1846, Vol. 103, no 2, 231-240 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

We tested the hypothesis that an unconscious preattentive perceptual analysis of phobic stimuli is sufficient to elicit human fear responses. Selected snake- and spider-fearful Ss, as well as normal controls, were exposed to pictures of snakes, spiders, flowers, and mushrooms. A separate forced-choice recognition experiment established backward masking conditions that effectively precluded recognition of experimental stimuli both for fearful and nonfearful Ss. In the main experiment, these conditions were used to compare skin conductance responses (SCRs) to masked and nonmasked phobic and control pictures among fearful and nonfearful Ss. In support of the hypotheses, snake- and spider-fearful Ss showed elevated SCRs to snake and spider pictures as compared with neutral pictures and with responses of the nonfearful Ss under both masking conditions. Ratings of valence, arousal, and dominance indicated that the fearful Ss felt more negative, more aroused, and less dominant in relation to both masked and nonmasked phobic stimuli.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
1994. Vol. 103, no 2, 231-240 p.
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-12730PubMedID: 8040492OAI: oai:DiVA.org:miun-12730DiVA: diva2:377745
Available from: 2010-12-14 Created: 2010-12-14 Last updated: 2011-01-18Bibliographically approved

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