Autistic-traits, not anxiety, modulate implicit emotional guidance of attention in neurotypical adults

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Abstract

Although autistic and anxious traits are positively correlated, high levels of autistic traits are associated with poorer emotional guidance of attention (EGA) whilst high levels of anxious traits are associated with greater EGA. In order to better understand how these two trait dimensions influence EGA, we simultaneously examined the effects of anxiety and autistic traits in neurotypical adults on target identification in an attentional blink task. Analyses indicated that implicit EGA is attenuated in individuals with higher levels of autistic traits, but largely unaffected by variation in anxious traits. Our results suggest that anxiety plays a comparatively limited role in modulating implicit EGA and reinforces the importance of disentangling correlated individual differences when exploring the effects of personality, including emotional predisposition, on attention.

Original languageEnglish
Article number18376 (2019)
Number of pages10
JournalScientific Reports
Volume9
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 Dec 2019

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