Appraising the role of visual threat in speeded detection and classification tasks

Yue, Yue and Quinlan, Philip Appraising the role of visual threat in speeded detection and classification tasks. Frontiers in Psychology, 6. p. 755. ISSN 1664-1078

Appraising the role of visual threat in speeded detection and classification tasks.pdf

Download (604kB) | Preview


This research examines the speeded detection and, separately, classification of photo graphic images of animals. In the initial experiments each display contained various images of animals and, in the detection task, participants responded whether a display contained only images of birds or also included an oddball target image of a cat or dog. In the classification search task, a target was always present and participants classified this as an image of a cat or a dog. Half of the target images depicted the animal in a non-threatening state and the remaining half images depicted the animal in a threatening state. A complex pattern of effects emerged showing some evidence of more efficient detection of a threatening than non-threatening target. No corresponding pattern emerged in the data for the classification task. Next the tasks were repeated when the stimuli were more carefully matched in terms of general pose and salience of facial features. Now the effects in the detection task were reduced but more consistent than before. Threatening targets were more readily detected than non-threatening targets. In addition, non-threatening targets were more readily classified than threatening targets. The nature of these effects appears to reflect decisional/response mechanisms and not search processes. The performance benefit for the non-threatening images was replicated in a final classification task in which, on each trial, only a single peripheral image was presented. The results demonstrate that a number of different affective and perceptual factors can influence performance in speeded search tasks and these may well be confounded with the variation in threat content of the experimental stimuli. The evidence for the automatic detection of visual threat remains illusive.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information and Comments: This Document is Protected by copyright and was first published by Frontiers. All rights reserved. It is reproduced with permission. © 2015 Yue and Quinlan. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Science > Psychology
Depositing User: Anna Kirpichnikova
Date Deposited: 02 Nov 2015 18:40
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2016 14:37

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item