Attention-driven bias for threat-related stimuli in implicit memory. Preliminary results from the Posner cueing paradigm
An implicit memory advantage for angry faces was investigated in this experiment by means of an additional cueing task. Participants were to assess the orientation of a triangle's peak, which side of presentation was cued informatively by angry and neutral face stimuli, after which they immediately completed an unexpected "old-new" task on a set of the previously presented faces and new, distractor-faces. Surprisingly, the RTs were similarly long on the invalid trials for angry and neutral facial cues in the Posner task. However, performance on the "old-new" task was better for angry than neutral faces. A strong correlation between RTs in angry-invalid trials and confidence ratings for these angry faces was observed only in highly reactive participants. These results suggest that presentation of threatening material can induce enhanced incidental encoding which can result in stronger familiarity for such material, and this effect is driven by attentional bias in highly reactive individuals.