Electrophysiological and behavioral evidence reveals the effects of trait anxiety on contingent attentional capture

Yi Chun Tsai, Hsin Jie Lu, Chi Fu Chang, Wei Kuang Liang, Neil G. Muggleton, Chi Hung Juan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Few studies have investigated the effects of anxiety on contingent attentional capture. The present study examined contingent attentional capture in trait anxiety by applying a rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP) paradigm during electroencephalographic recording. Overall, the behavioral and electrophysiological results showed a larger capture effect when a distractor was the same color as the target compared to when the distractor was not of the target color. Moreover, high-anxiety individuals showed a larger N2pc in the target colored distractor condition and nontarget colored distractor condition compared to the distractor-absent condition. In addition, the reaction time was slower when distractors were presented in the left visual field compared to when they were in the right visual field. This pattern was not seen in low-anxiety individuals. The findings may indicate that high-anxiety individuals allocate attention to the target less efficiently and have reduced suppression of distractors compared to low-anxiety individuals who could suppress attention to the distractors more efficiently. Future work could valuably investigate the consequences of such differences in terms of benefits and disruption associated with attentional capture differences in a range of anxious populations in different risk monitoring situations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)973-983
Number of pages11
JournalCognitive, Affective and Behavioral Neuroscience
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2017


  • Contingent attentional capture
  • N2pc
  • Suppression
  • Trait anxiety


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