Here, we explored the effect of exposure to threat versus neutral stimuli on time perception in anxious (n=29) and non-anxious (n=29) individuals using predictions from the attentional gate model (AGM) of time perception. Results indicate that relative to non-anxious individuals, anxious individuals subjectively experience time as moving more slowly when exposed to short (2-second) presentations of threat stimuli, and that group differences disappear with longer exposure durations (4 and 8 seconds). Coupled with classic reports of enhanced attentional bias toward threat and diminished attentional control under stress in anxious individuals this finding provides novel insights into low-level cognitive processes that could shape and maintain the subjective experience of anxiety. Findings are discussed in relation to predictions from the AGM and cognitive accounts of anxiety.
- Attention bias
- Time perception