The effect of target position on detection of Kanji-Kana-combined worry words

[Speaker] Tomishima, Hiroki:1
[Co-author] Suenaga, Kiyoshi:2, Hideyuki, Fujiu:3
1:Research and training institute of clinical psychology, Seitoku University (Japan), 2:Seitoku University (Japan), 3:Tsukuba University (Japan)

While researchers have argued that there are effects of target position on the detection of naturalistic threat stimuli, it is unclear whether the same effects exist when lexical stimuli are presented. Sixteen healthy undergraduate and graduate students (3 male, 13 female; average age: 23.44 years) completed a modified visual search task with two types of stimuli (worry-related and neutral words). There was no interaction between target type and position; however, the effect of target position was larger when distracters were worry words than when they were neutral words. We argue that this is evidence that lexical stimuli are searched not by automatic, but by effortful controlled processing, and that worry distracters interfere more than neutral distracters do in the detection of targets. We discuss clinical implications in relation to anxiety disorders, and directions for further research on factors involved in the processing of worry words.
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