Attention bias

Omer Azriel, Yair Bar-Haim

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Attention bias is the tendency to prioritize the processing of certain types of stimuli over others. At any given moment, an individual's senses can perceive countless stimuli in the immediate surroundings. Threat-related attention bias refers to the tendency to prioritize the processing of threats over benign or neutral stimuli. This chapter focuses on threat-related attention bias—the tendency to prioritize the processing of potential threats over benign stimuli—and its relation to anxiety. When an actual threat is present, this process is highly adaptive and important to survival. Yet, when an individual overattends to minor threats, this could lead to viewing the environment as overly hostile. This, in turn, increases the frequency, intensity, and duration of anxiety and fear episodes. Deployment of attention toward stimuli that pose little threat can also lead to underprocessing of valuable nonthreat information and interfere with daily functioning. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved)
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationClinical handbook of fear and anxiety: Maintenance processes and treatment mechanisms.
EditorsJonathan S. Abramowitz, Shannon M. Blakey
Place of PublicationWashington, DC, US
PublisherAmerican Psychological Association Inc.
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781433831430, 1433831430
ISBN (Print)9781433830655
StatePublished - 2020


  • Anxiety
  • Fear
  • Stimulation
  • Threat
  • Attentional Bias


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