This investigation examined links between trait anger and selective attention to threats and rewards. Existing research has focused mainly on trait anxiety and is equally consistent with several competing theoretical accounts of trait emotion and visual attention. Both valence-based and motivation-based accounts predict that trait anxiety would be associated with biased attention toward threats. In contrast, a valence-based account predicts that trait anger would be associated with biased attention toward threats, whereas a motivation-based account predicts that it would be associated with biased attention toward rewards. To test these predictions, we measured trait anxiety, trait anger and selective attention to threats and rewards. Consistent with a motivation-based account, we found that trait anger was associated with selective attention toward rewarding but not threatening information, whereas trait anxiety was associated with selective attention toward threatening but not rewarding information.
- Selective attention