August 2009
Volume 9, Issue 8
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2009
Fear processing during binocular suppression
Author Affiliations
  • Patricia Costello
    Gustavus Adolphus College, Department of Psychology
  • Anne Engebretson
    Gustavus Adolphus College, Department of Psychology
  • Megan Taylor
    Gustavus Adolphus College, Department of Psychology
  • Constance Lokken
    Gustavus Adolphus College, Department of Psychology
  • Yi Jiang
    University of Minnesota, Department of Psychology
Journal of Vision August 2009, Vol.9, 295. doi:
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      Patricia Costello, Anne Engebretson, Megan Taylor, Constance Lokken, Yi Jiang; Fear processing during binocular suppression. Journal of Vision 2009;9(8):295.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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In general, stimuli that are familiar and recognizable dominate during binocular rivalry, and this is usually thought to be due to superior processing during the dominant phase. Recent research has demonstrated that familiar and recognizable stimuli and fear related stimuli such as fearful facial expressions also have an advantage of breaking suppression during binocular rivalry. In the current study, animate images from the IAPS database were introduced to one eye and competed against a standard high-contrast dynamic noise pattern presented to the other eye. We measured how long it took for fear-related images (snakes and spiders) to break out of suppression and compared the timing to a non-fear related control images (dogs, cats, birds, etc) breaking from suppression. We also measured participants' general fear levels on the Klorman Snake and Spider Phobia Questionnaire. Preliminary results show that fear-related images are faster to gain dominance, but only for those who reported a high level of fear to the specific images. That is, suppression times negatively correlated with individual differences in fear scores for both snakes and spider suggesting that stimuli relevant to individual ecological importance have preferential access to conscious awareness.

Costello, P. Engebretson, A. Taylor, M. Lokken, C. Jiang, Y. (2009). Fear processing during binocular suppression [Abstract]. Journal of Vision, 9(8):295, 295a,, doi:10.1167/9.8.295. [CrossRef]

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