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Scene effects on disgusted facial expression detection in individuals with social anxiety: the role of emotional intensity
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  • Siyu He,
  • Ruonan Zhao,
  • Chieh Li,
  • Lihong Hui ,
  • Shubo Dong,
  • Cai Xu,
  • lixia Cui
Siyu He
Capital Normal University
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Ruonan Zhao
Capital Normal University
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Chieh Li
Northeastern University - Boston Campus
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Lihong Hui
Capital Normal University
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Shubo Dong
Capital Normal University
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Cai Xu
Capital Normal University
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lixia Cui
Capital Normal University

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Abstract

Individuals exhibiting high social anxiety (HSA) typically encounter challenges in identifying threatening stimuli with varying levels of intensity in different social scenes, ultimately affecting their social interactions. However, it is not well understood how social scenes and emotional intensity and their interaction influence the recognition of threat stimuli among HSA individuals (HSAs). To address this issue, a face recognition task was administered to 20 HSA participants and 22 individuals exhibiting low social anxiety (LSA) in this study. Results indicated that during the stage of social scenes presentation, HSAs produced larger P2 amplitude than LSA individuals (LSAs) no matter the valence of the scenes, and during the stage of face recognition, HSAs had smaller N170 amplitude than LSAs and exhibited lower recognition time for 2% disgusted faces compared to LSAs. Furthermore, the consistency between scenes and faces led to faster recognition of disgusted faces in HSAs, but not in LSAs. Consequently, our findings suggested that HSAs recognizing faces were influenced by social scenes and invested too many cognitive resources in the scene presentation phase, which led to insufficient resources when performing the face recognition task. However, the emotional congruence of the scene and the faces could facilitate the recognition of faces by HSAs.