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Anke Haberkamp, Thomas Schmidt; Arac attack! Natural images of spiders and snakes in a response priming paradigm. Journal of Vision 2010;10(7):252. doi: 10.1167/10.7.252.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
People with spider or snake phobia might process phobia-related images more rapidly than neutral ones. We report a series of experiments to investigate the influence of aversive (spiders and snakes) and non-aversive (flowers and mushrooms) natural pictures on response times in phobic and non-phobic participants. In each experimental trial, one prime and target, chosen randomly from one of the four stimulus categories, were presented in rapid sequence, and participants performed speeded keypress responses to classify the targets. Participants performed two classification tasks: They either discriminated spiders and snakes from flowers and mushrooms (animal vs. non-animal task) or spiders and mushrooms from snakes and flowers (snake vs. spider task). Targets acted as backward masks for preceding primes. Results in non-phobic participants showed strong and reliable priming effects in both conditions but larger effects in the animal-nonanimal task. We will compare these results with those of phobic participants to disentangle effects of image processing speed with those of attentional biases.
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