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Attachment Styles are Related to ERPs Elicited to Angry Faces in an Oddball Paradigm

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Author(s): Marrie H. J. Bekker | Fienke I. M. Geurdes | Ruth E. Mark

Journal: Advances in Molecular Imaging
ISSN 2161-6728

Volume: 02;
Issue: 01;
Start page: 128;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: Event-Related Potentials | Attachment Styles or Dimensions | Autonomy | Anxiety | Attentional Bias Theory

ABSTRACT
Attachment theory suggests that anxious attachment is associated with hypervigilance to threatening social stimuli, and avoidant attachment with avoidance or suppression of processing such stimuli. Twenty-five students viewed angry, fearful and neutral female faces in four visual oddball tasks, and completed the Attachment Style Questionnaire, the Autonomy-Connectedness Scale, and Anxiety and Depression subscales of the Symptom Checklist-90. When the oddballs were angry faces in a background of neutral frequents, we found higher levels of autonomy and secure attachment to be related to larger N100 and smaller P300 amplitudes; higher levels of anxious attachment were, on the contrary, associated with smaller N100 and larger P300 amplitudes. Variation in attachment is related to approaching, or withdrawing from threatening stimuli, and ERP-techniques add to our understanding of how the attachment system actually works.
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