Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Stress-Related Psychological Symptoms Are Associated with Increased Attentional Capture by Visually Salient Distractors

  • Michael Esterman (a1) (a2), Joseph DeGutis (a1) (a3), Rogelio Mercado (a1), Andrew Rosenblatt (a1), Jennifer J. Vasterling (a1) (a2), William Milberg (a1) (a3) and Regina McGlinchey (a1) (a3)...

Abstract

Research has shown that attention can be abnormally drawn to salient threat- or trauma-related information in individuals with posttraumatic stress and related psychological symptoms. The nature of this attentional bias is thought to derive from capture of attention toward potential threat overpowering the volitional, goal-directed attentional system. However, it is unclear whether this pattern of attentional dysregulation generalizes to salient, but non-emotional types of information. Using a well-established and sensitive measure of attentional capture, the current study demonstrates that posttraumatic psychological symptom severity is associated with the capture of attention by visually salient, non-emotional distractors. Specifically, during visual search for a unique shape, the presence of a task-irrelevant but salient color singleton disrupted search efficiency, and this disruption was correlated with both posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression symptom severity as assessed by self-report. These findings suggest that posttraumatic stress and depression may be characterized as involving a general alteration of the balance between salience-based and goal-directed attentional systems. (JINS, 2013, 19, 1–6)

Copyright

Corresponding author

Correspondence and reprint requests to: Michael Esterman, VA Boston Healthcare System, 150 South Huntington Avenue (182 JP), Boston, MA 02130. E-mail: esterman@bu.edu

References

Hide All
Aupperle, R.L., Melrose, A.J., Stein, M.B., Paulus, M.P. (2012). Executive function and PTSD: Disengaging from trauma. Neuropharmacology, 62, 686694.
Berman, M.G., Nee, D.E., Casement, M., Kim, H.S., Deldin, P., Kross, E., Jonides, J. (2011). Neural and behavioral effects of interference resolution in depression and rumination. Cognitive, Affective & Behavioral Neuroscience, 11(1), 8596.
Blake, D.D., Weathers, F.W., Nagy, M.N., Kaloupek, D.G., Klauminzer, G., Chamey, D.S., Keane, T.M. (1990). Instruction Manual: National Center for PTSD Clinician Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS) Forms 1 and 2. Boston (MA): West Haven.
Brandes, D., Ben-Schachar, G., Gilboa, A., Bonne, O., Freedman, S., Shalev, A.Y. (2002). PTSD symptoms and cognitive performance in recent trauma survivors. Psychiatry Research, 110(3), 231238.
Breslau, N., Davis, G.C., Peterson, E.L., Schultz, L.R. (2000). A second look at comorbidity in victims of trauma: The posttraumatic stress disorder-major depression connection. Biological Psychiatry, 48(9), 902909.
Bryant, R.A., Harvey, A.G. (1997). Attentional bias in posttraumatic stress disorder. Journal of Trauma Stress, 10(4), 635644.
Falconer, E., Bryant, R., Felmingham, K.L., Kemp, A.H., Gordon, E., Peduto, A., Williams, L.M. (2008). The neural networks of inhibitory control in posttraumatic stress disorder. Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience, 33(5), 413422.
Fortier, C., Amick, M., Grande, L., McGlynn, S., Kenna, A., Morra, L., McGlinchey, R. (2013). The Boston Assessment of Traumatic Brain Injury-Lifetime (BAT-L) Semistructured Interview: Evidence of research utility and validity. The Journal of Head Trauma and Rehabilitation, [Epub ahead of print].
Friedman, D., Cycowicz, Y., Gaeta, H. (2001). The novelty P3: An event-related brain potential (ERP) sign of the brain's evaluation of novelty. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 25, 355373.
Jenkins, M.A., Langlais, P.J., Delis, D.A., Cohen, R.A. (2000). Attentional dysfunction associated with posttraumatic stress disorder among rape survivors. Clinical Neuropsychology, 14(1), 712.
Johnsen, G.E., Kanagaratnam, P., Asbjornsen, A.E. (2008). Memory impairments in posttraumatic stress disorder are related to depression. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 22(3), 464474.
Jovanovic, T., Ely, T., Fani, N., Glover, E.M., Gutman, D., Tone, E.B., Ressler, K.J. (2012). Reduced neural activation during an inhibition task is associated with impaired fear inhibition in a traumatized civilian sample. Cortex, [Epub ahead of print].
Kimble, M., Kaloupek, D., Kaufman, M., Deldin, P. (2000). Stimulus novelty differentially affects attentional allocation in PTSD. Biological Psychiatry, 47(10), 880890.
Kincade, J.M., Abrams, R.A., Astafiev, S.V., Shulman, G.L., Corbetta, M. (2005). An event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging study of voluntary and stimulus-driven orienting of attention. Journal of Neuroscience, 25(18), 45934604.
Leskin, L.P., White, P.M. (2007). Attentional networks reveal executive function deficits in posttraumatic stress disorder. Neuropsychology, 21(3), 275284.
McDonald, S.D., Calhoun, P.S. (2010). The diagnostic accuracy of the PTSD checklist: a critical review. Clinical Psychology Review, 30(8), 976.
Mogg, K., Mathews, A., Bird, C., Macgregor-Morris, R. (1990). Effects of stress and anxiety on the processing of threat stimuli. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 59(6), 12301237.
Moher, J., Abrams, J., Egeth, H.E., Yantis, S., Stuphorn, V. (2011). Trial-by-trial adjustments of top-down set modulate oculomotor capture. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 18(5), 897903.
Moser, J.S., Becker, M.W., Moran, T.P. (2012). Enhanced attentional capture in trait anxiety. Emotion, 12(2), 213216.
Pineles, S.L., Shipherd, J.C., Mostoufi, S.M., Abramovitz, S.M., Yovel, I. (2009). Attentional biases in PTSD: More evidence for interference. Behavioral Reseach and Therapy, 47(12), 10501057.
Ratcliff, R. (1993). Methods for dealing with reaction time outliers. Psychological Bulletin, 114(3), 510532.
Swick, D., Honzel, N., Larsen, J., Ashley, V., Justus, T. (2012). Impaired response inhibition in veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and mild traumatic brain injury. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 18, 110.
Theeuwes, J. (2010). Top-down and bottom-up control of visual selection. Acta Psychologica (Amst), 135(2), 7799.
Theeuwes, J., Burger, R. (1998). Attentional control during visual search: The effect of irrelevant singletons. Journal of Experimental Psychology. Human Perception and Performance, 24(5), 13421353.
Vasterling, J.J., Brailey, K., Constans, J.I., Sutker, P.B. (1998). Attention and memory dysfunction in posttraumatic stress disorder. Neuropsychology, 12(1), 125133.
Vasterling, J.J., Duke, L.M., Brailey, K., Constans, J.I., Allain, A.N. Jr., Sutker, P.B. (2002). Attention, learning, and memory performances and intellectual resources in Vietnam veterans: PTSD and no disorder comparisons. Neuropsychology, 16(1), 514.
Vasterling, J.J., Verfaellie, M. (2009). Introduction-posttraumatic stress disorder: A neurocognitive perspective. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 15(6), 826829.
Veltmeyer, M.D., Clark, C.R., McFarlane, A.C., Felmingham, K.L., Bryant, R.A., Gordon, E. (2005). Integrative assessment of brain and cognitive function in post-traumatic stress disorder. Journal of Integrative Neuroscience, 4(1), 145159.
Weathers, F.W., Huska, J.A., & Keane, T.M. (1991). PCL-C for DSM-IV. Boston: National Center for PTSD-Behavioral Science Division.

Keywords

Stress-Related Psychological Symptoms Are Associated with Increased Attentional Capture by Visually Salient Distractors

  • Michael Esterman (a1) (a2), Joseph DeGutis (a1) (a3), Rogelio Mercado (a1), Andrew Rosenblatt (a1), Jennifer J. Vasterling (a1) (a2), William Milberg (a1) (a3) and Regina McGlinchey (a1) (a3)...

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed