Recent studies on the interaction between cognition and emotion demonstrate that people suffering from emotional disorders may have attentional bias to emotional stimuli. Different experimental paradigms and subject populations have been used in research, in which four types of theories concerning the mechanisms of attentional bias were developed. According to the components of selective attention account, the reason for attentional bias is that threat-related stimuli make the disengagement of attention more difficult. According to the schema theory, the activation of relevant schema or knowledge structure induces the bias of attentional to the particular stimuli. According to the attentional resource theory, emotional information captures attention automatically, which leaves no attentional resources to process non-emotional dimension of stimuli. According to the PDP model, for people with emotional disorders, the input units for threat-related information have higher activation levels, resulting in interference with the completion of the current task.
Advances In Psychological Science