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Title: Attentional bias across the lifespan
Author: Skene, Wendy
ISNI:       0000 0004 5365 4059
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis takes a lifespan approach to investigate attentional bias from childhood into older adulthood. Using the dot-probe task throughout, the primary aim was to identify age-related differences in attentional bias across the lifespan. Short and longer stimulus presentation times were used in some studies to investigate the time course of attentional bias. Furthermore, anxiety and executive function were measured to examine how these factors may influence attentional bias across the lifespan. Results found that children showed an attentional bias away from emotion faces which was most evident in those with low trait anxiety. Young adults attended to angry faces at the short presentation time, this was not maintained at longer presentation times. In older adults, results showed an initial avoidance of happy faces followed by a bias towards happy faces at the later presentation time. A direct comparison between children and young adults found that children showed avoidance of emotion compared to adults. A direct comparison of young and older adults found in those with higher state anxiety, young adults showed a bias towards threat at the long presentation time, whereas older adults showed a bias away from threat. Contrary to the predominant theory of attention, executive function was not found to be related to attentional bias in children or young adults. However it did influence attentional bias in older adults, where poorer inhibition was related to a bias away from the happy face. To summarise, this thesis has identified differences in attentional bias according to age and prompts further research into how age, anxiety, executive function and attentional bias may interact in a non-clinically anxious population.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Attention ; Anxiety ; Avoidance (Pyschology) ; Inhibition