THE ROLE OF ATTENTION BIAS AND BEHAVIORAL INHIBITION IN PREDICTING CHILDREN’S SOCIAL ANXIETY

Open Access
Author:
Shub, Sydni
Area of Honors:
Biobehavioral Health
Degree:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Koraly Elisa Perez-Edgar, Thesis Supervisor
  • Lori Anne Francis, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • Behavioral Inhibition
  • BI
  • Social Anxiety
  • Attention Bias
  • Validity Effect
  • Posner Task
  • ERP component
  • N1
  • N2
  • P2
  • P3
  • Anxiety
Abstract:
Behavioral inhibition (BI) in children is a temperament trait commonly linked with social anxiety and attention bias to threat. Many studies in the past have critically investigated the intricate processes which link these elements together. One way to study the relation between BI, attention bias, and social anxiety in particular, is through ERP data. In this study, children ages 9-12 were presented with neutral and facial stimuli followed by a target in either the same location or the opposite location of the face stimulus as part of an affective Posner task. ERP components, specifically N1, N2, P2, and P3, were tracked in order to determine possible differences in temperament, electrophysiological markers, and salience sensitivity between BI and non-BI children. Results indicated a larger validity effected among BI children indicating difficulty in shifting attention. N1 and N2 amplitudes were associated with orientating attention and attention control, respectively. The validity effect by N2 interaction found that augmented N2 amplitudes demonstrated stronger relations between the validity effect and social anxiety impacted by an inability to defer attention away from threatening facial stimuli. P3 amplitudes were linked to resource allocation and certainty of the presented task such that smaller P3 amplitudes indicated greater BI and greater social anxiety. The findings suggest that changes in EEG amplitudes reflect the processes supporting the link between BI, attention bias, and social anxiety.